There’s a new contender in the digital wallet arena: Amazon has launched Amazon Wallet in the US, the e-commerce company’s would-be answer to PayPal and Google Wallet.
So far, it’s an oddly lacklustre offering with emphasis on gift cards. If you want to store your credit card information or shop at your pick of online merchants, stick with whatever you’re doing now, because Amazon Wallet only allows users to store select gift cards and loyalty cards for third-party shopping. For select merchants, you can check your gift card balances. If you shop within the Amazon website, the wallet will store your credit card information… but the website already did that anyways, so it’s less an increase in functionality and more of a different name for the same service. Overall, the service is more like a watered-down Passbook than a true digital wallet.
For mobile users, the Amazon Wallet app is currently in beta, and ships pre-installed on the new Fire phones. It’s currently only being offered in the US. Amazon has the user base and the credibility as a retailer to compete with Google, PayPal and other online wallet providers, but this half-baked debut may derail the company’s plans to jump into the market. It’s odd they didn’t wait until Amazon Wallet actually offered something unique, or at least peer-to-peer payment options. [TechCrunch]