The credit card reader marketplace just got a lot more crowded.
Online shopping giant Amazon announced Local Register, a card reader and mobile app that enables small businesses to accept plastic payment methods, on Wednesday.
The mobile reader costs $10, though Amazon is offering a $10 credit that allows participating businesses to recoup the cost of the device. It is also currently running a promotion that allows merchants who sign up for the service by October 31, 2014 to pay 1.75 percent per swiped card payment until Jan. 1, 2016.
Beyond that, merchants will pay a 2.5 percent fee per swipe. This price still undercuts popular payments providers Square and Pay Pal, which charge 2.75 percent and 2.7 percent respectively in swipe fees.
"We understand that every penny and every minute counts, so we want to make accepting payments so easy and inexpensive that it no longer gets in the way of a business owner doing what they love -- serving their customers and growing their business," said Matt Swann, Vice President of Amazon Local Commerce, in a press release.
Amazon's reader and mobile app are compatible with Apple iOS7 devices, select Android smartphones, Kindle Fire tablets and Amazon's new Fire phone. The service comes with Amazon customer support and business tracking tools.
While Amazon's entrance into the marketplace may not be good news for Square or Pay Pal, it could wind up benefiting consumers.
"Expanding the number of merchants who accept cards increases convenience for consumers," says James Wester, research director of global payments at IDC. "Plus, there could be a way that Amazon connects purchases through its Local Register to Amazon accounts. That could improve recommendations, possibly even helping consumers find offline as well as online merchants."
What do you think of Amazon's latest foray into payments? Let us know in the comments below!
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