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Amazon sets up payments on smartphones

A new Amazon service will let developers build in one-click payment buttons into mobile applications on smartphones and other devices
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor on

Amazon Payments has introduced payment-processing tools for mobile devices, meaning smartphone owners can pay for products with a single click.

Amazon Mobile Payments Service, announced on Monday, is an extension of the Amazon subsidiary's existing APIs that developers can build into websites to accept payments from customers.

When built into a mobile application, Amazon Mobile Payments Service (MPS) displays a payment button resembling that found on the Amazon.com website. Clicking on the button takes users to an Amazon-hosted, co-branded web page, the company said.

There, customers can log in using their existing Amazon account information and carry out the transaction using previously entered credit-card and delivery-address information.

"Amazon customers can now also make purchases on third-party sites without needing to set up separate payment accounts — they simply use the payment information in their existing Amazon accounts," said Howard Gefen, director of Amazon MPS, in a statement.

Amazon Payments competes with Google Checkout and PayPal in payment-processing tools, and its rivals already offer mobile options.

In addition to allowing the use of Amazon's one-click payment feature, the service enables sellers to accept payment authorisations from customers via mobile websites and will accept one-time payments. It can also handle refunds of previously collected payments and the cancellation of transactions.

The one-click feature relies on a multi-use token that enables a user to make subsequent purchases without having to log in again, Amazon said. The feature should make it easier for merchants to accept micro-payments and recurring payments.

Mobile payment systems have gained ground due to the increasing popularity of smartphone handsets such as the iPhone, the BlackBerry and Symbian OS-based phones, which are capable of handling more advanced transactions than older handsets.

Mobile developers have also experimented with the use of mobile phones to pay for off-line items. For example, Starbucks in September introduced an application that allows Seattle-area customers to pay for items via a barcode displayed on the screen of an iPhone.

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