Amazon says it is finally ready to turn its huge customer base into a big payments business outside of Amazon. For real this time.
The e-commerce giant is bringing its "Pay with Amazon" buttons to mobile apps, while "tripling down" on placing its Pay with Amazon buttons on websites in overseas markets like Japan. The moves are the latest in the company's on-again, off-again efforts to take advantage of the more than 200 million customer accounts it has on file by processing payments on websites outside of its own walls.
Earlier this year, Amazon hired PayPal vet Patrick Gauthier to lead a newly created team dedicated solely to building a payments business across the Web and app world. The payments industry is watching closely. For years, it has been waiting for Amazon to become a real player, perhaps challenging PayPal along the way.
But the initiative has moved in fits and starts — a digital wallet project, for example, was killed earlier this year before it even exited beta testing. And the same line of questioning has hung over Amazon's payments efforts at each turn: How many online shops will really want to get in bed with Amazon, which sells everything under the sun, and let it get a view into their transactions?