January 24, 2015
Amazon has taken a step back in its efforts to become a prominent player in the mobile payments space. Amazon’s very own mobile wallet app Amazon Wallet has been pulled from the Google Play store as well the Amazon app store. The Android app was developed by the e-commerce giant to store loyalty and gift cards. The move comes at a time when Amazon has been struggling on the mobile front. The company’s Fire Phone has also seen disappointing sales.
The app enabled users to scan their gift, loyalty and membership cards to the app and then use these cards via barcode, QR code, text or image. The app also enabled customers to check for balances at certain merchants. Amazon had also established a website around the mobile wallet service that enabled users to edit and manage their cards as well as payment options. Amazon had also pulled the plug on its P2P email payment service in October last year.
But it is unlikely that Amazon will completely lose its focus from the payments space. It is already actively providing a mobile point-of-sale service for iOS, Android and Kindle dubbed as Amazon Local Register. It is be possible that Amazon’s mobile wallet might return in a different format as it was still in beta phase. Currently, the financial industry is indeed lucrative and many Silicon Valley companies are trying hard to enter the space.
Being in beta phase, the Amazon Wallet app had limited functionality and didn’t even have the necessary feature of storing payment cards. With Apple Pay entering the mobile wallet race and NFC mobile payments regaining popularity, Amazon might take a hint from these newer mobile wallet services. There are many complexities involved in developing an ideal mobile wallet service. A major challenge is getting retailers to sign up because only then will the customers be attracted towards such services.
Amazon needs to overcome its current challenges before it takes further new initiatives in the payments space. Amazon Payments also recently lost the crowdfunding powerhouse Kickstarter as its client. Kickstarter was one of the major clients and raked in $529 Mn in annual pledges.