In all the buzz about the recently launched "Login and Pay with Amazon"—a new feature that allows you to log in to non-Amazon websites with your Amazon credentials and pay with the credit card and shipping address Amazon has stored—here's what everyone's missing: This isn't really new.
Amazon has been offering a Checkout by Amazon option for businesses to use on their websites since 2011. So how is this new feature different from the old one?
"The difference between Checkout by Amazon and Login and Pay with Amazon is that with the new system, sellers can allow customers to log in up front, so that they can create an account for the customer in their systems," an Amazon spokeswoman told Fast Company. "If the customer doesn’t buy during the purchase session, the seller retains the customer’s information so that they can maintain a relationship and recognize the customer when he or she returns. When the buyers go to make a purchase, they are already logged in and can access shipping, payment, and other information stored in their Amazon account."
In other words, Amazon takes over the seller's workflow to make payments quick and easy for the buyer. It charges 2.9% + $0.30 for each transaction that is $10 or more. Businesses who don't want to use the new feature can still use Checkout by Amazon at the same rate.
There's a reason why systems like these are not really popular on most popular shopping sites. After all, Staples.com, Walmart.com, and BestBuy.com really, really want you to set up an account with them and really, really don't want you to log in with Amazon, their arch nemesis.
With more than 215 million customer accounts, this is Amazon's direct shot at PayPal, the current Internet payments darling, which just launched a system that lets you pay in stores (via PayPal) with a QR code.