Online retail giant Amazon took a swipe at credit card processing services Wednesday with the debut of its latest service: a credit and debit card reader which plugs into a phone or a tablet, providing brick-and-mortar stores with a mobile payment system similar to the ones already being offered by companies like Square and PayPal.
Amazon's offering, however, comes at a steep discount compared to those now rival services. Retailers that start using Amazon's card reader, called "Amazon Local Register," before October 31 will pay a rate of 1.75% on transactions, versus 2.75% for Square and 2.7% for PayPal. At the close of the promotional window, the rate rises to 2.5%, still a bit lower than comparable offerings.
Retailers can sign up for Amazon Local Register for free, but must pay $10 for each card reader. The system also generates detailed customer reports that will give both the retailer and Amazon new insights into the habits of offline shoppers, making it a potential data goldmine for Amazon.