updated 02:08 pm EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Mobile app from Amazon stores retailer card details, no mobile payments by card yet
Amazon has quietly launched an app to help people manage gift cards and loyalty cards with stores. The Amazon Wallet app for Android and the Fire Phone is able to store membership cards for retailers on the smartphone, allowing shoppers to digitally carry all of their store cards and gift cards without having to also bring along the physical versions.
Users of the app can scan or type in their loyalty card details, reports TechCrunch, with the app also able to keep track of gift card values for a number of merchants. At the checkout, the app will display a barcode, a QR code, an image, or a string of text for the store employee to enter into their system.
While the system does work with gift cards, it does not yet allow for the storage or payment with credit or debit card details. The accompanying Amazon Wallet website does let users modify their account's store card collection, as well as updating payment information used with Amazon itself, though these payment details do not get transferred to the app.
While seemingly useful to shoppers as it currently is, the potential to offer mobile payments could help Amazon as it tries to compete with PayPal, Google Wallet, and other payment processing systems. Amazon has been previously rumored to be setting up some form of payment platform, and already offers its Simple Pay Subscriptions to websites, allowing online services to receive regular payments from customers. Amazon has also been linked to a possible point-of-sale system using Kindle tablets, though that has yet to formally emerge.