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New mobile payment tool for on-the-go RMTs, small businesses

Massage therapists have a new convenient option for processing client payments.

Amazon is taking direct aim at mobile payment systems such as Square by introducing the Amazon Local Register, a credit-card processing device and mobile app designed to help small business owners accept payments through their smartphones and tablets.

The move places the largest U.S. e-commerce retailer in competition with Square and other established mobile payment processing systems such as PayPal Here and Intuit's GoPayment.


August 15, 2014
By Mae Anderson The Associated Press

Amazon’s technology includes a card reader that attaches to a
smartphone, Kindle or tablet. The reader processes credit or debit card
payments via a secure Amazon network, the same one that processes
Amazon.com purchases. The service is designed to serve on-the-go small
business owners who might otherwise only accept cash or checks,
including massage therapists, food truck operators and artists who sell
their work at outdoor fairs.

Small businesses can start using
Local Register by creating an account on
http://localregister.amazon.com. Businesses must buy Amazon’s card
reader for $10, and download the free mobile app from the Amazon app
store, the Apple app store or Google Play. The app works on most
smartphones and tablets, including the Kindle Fire.

For customers
who sign up for the service by Oct. 31, Amazon will take as its fee
1.75 per cent of each payment processed, or each “swipe” of the card, a
special rate that will last until Jan. 1, 2016. For people who sign up
after Oct. 31, Amazon will take a service fee of 2.5 per cent of each
payment processed.

The first $10 in transaction fees will be credited back to the customer, essentially paying for the card reader.

Square,
the competing mobile payment system, takes a fee of 2.75 per cent of
each transaction. PayPal Here takes 2.7 per cent of each transaction and
Intuit’s GoPayment rates start at 1.75 per cent per transaction if
businesses pay a $19.95 monthly rate or 2.4 per cent of each transaction
without a monthly payment.

“I’ve actually heard some business
owners say the only thing that would make them change (point of sale)
systems is cost savings,” said Matt Swann, vice-president of local
commerce for Amazon.

“Payments are hard and that’s one of the
things that gets in the way of serving customers, especially for small
businesses,” Swann said. “Payment tools need to be inexpensive, simple
and trusted to get the job done.”


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