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Amazon's PayPhrase: Can it juice Amazon Checkout, Payments?

Amazon launched an effort called PayPhrase in what the company calls an e-commerce shortcut that allows shoppers to buy around the Web with a phrase and a PIN.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

Amazon launched an effort called PayPhrase in what the company calls an e-commerce shortcut that allows shoppers to buy around the Web with a phrase and a PIN.

When first reading Amazon's release (Techmeme), my initial thought could be summed up with "huh?" But after further review, PayPhrase may be an easy way to make your Amazon data your de facto e-commerce record and shopping cart of choice.

And while it's way premature to call PayPhrase any sort of PayPal killer, you can definitely envision it as part of a broader move to make Amazon Payments and Amazon Checkout bigger players.

Here's how it works:

  • Amazon gives you a standard phrase that you change;
  • You create a PIN;
  • And you can use that phrase and the pin to make purchases elsewhere.

A real bonus is that you can set limits on what your kids spend.

Sites using Amazon Checkout will have PayPhrase as an option. On the surface, Amazon is making it easier to shop and saving the consumer a few clicks. In the long run, PayPhrase may be a nice perk to get more merchants to use Amazon Payments and Amazon Checkout.

Will PayPhrase work? I have no idea, but if Amazon Payments is going to be a real PayPal rival it's going to have to cook up some innovative items. At the very least, PayPhrase shows Amazon is at least thinking different.

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