Amazon Launches PayPhrase — Will It Be Easy To Game?

Amazon is launching “PayPhrase” a simple way to verify your account to speed up purchasing – a great move ahead of the holiday season when even more people than ever will be shopping online.

It’s simple stuff. You set up a unique phrase like “Axe Murderer” or “Car Lover” or “Honey I shrunk the kids” and tie it to a 4-digit PIN. This is linked to your Amazon account which, of course, is pre-loaded with your credit card and shipping address.

I do have to wonder what was so hard about entering an email address and password, but clearly Amazon’s psychological research unit thought “Fluffy Bunnies”, or some such, was going to be easier for the average Jane or Joe to remember.

It’s also positioned as a parent/teen solution competing (kind of) with PayPal Student Accounts, because, like the latter, you could give your student son or daughter a PayPhrase which access your account which doesn’t actually access your account controls. PayPhrase lets parents track spending and set account permissions/alerts/etc.

There are other participating websites which will be implementing PayPhrase, including,, and that already accept by Amazon’s Checkout service. Of course, earlier this month, eBay came up with its Bill Me Later deferred payment option for both eBay and PayPal which will be carried by Toys R Us,, Petco and Wal-Mart among others.

However, how many people are not going to have a cutesy phrase and default instead to something like “Dad’s Birthday”. All you then need do is type in a plausible month and day like “0820” for the PIN and… voila! And how many people will just use “1234” for their PIN? Plenty.

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments.