January 30, 2014

E-commerce giant Amazon is taking steps to gain a bigger foothold in the payments space by offering P2P payments and a Kindle-based mobile point of sale system for retail merchants.

TechCrunch noticed an ad that Amazon posted for senior technical program managers to help it get a new P2P payments service off the ground. The new service would presumably put Amazon in direct competition with PayPal, as well as banks that offer their own P2P payments services.

Meanwhile Amazon is also looking to take on Square and other mobile point of sale providers. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Amazon is going to offer a Kindle-based point of sale checkout system for brick-and-mortar stores. The online retailer would provide the tablets to merchants with card readers, possibly with additional services such as website development or data analysis, the Journal said.

Amazon is accelerating the program by acquiring technology and hiring engineers from GoPago, a mobile checkout startup.

To attract merchants, Amazon may offer to post promotions or discounts for the merchants through Amazon’s website or its Amazon Local daily deals program, the Journal’s sources said.

Amazon made some waves early last year when it filed for a patent on a mobile wallet. Clearly the company sees an opportunity to be a disruptor in the payments world, and, as the Journal noted, it already has the card information of more than 230 million users. The online retailer certainly has the will and the means to shake things up in an already fast-changing payments landscape.

[For More On Amazon and Payments, Check Out: How Apple and Amazon Will Shape Mobile Payments]

Jonathan Camhi is a graduate of the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism, where he focused on international reporting and interned at the Hindustan Times in Delhi, ...