Amazon is reportedly plotting to take on Apple with its own mobile payments within stores

  • Amazon has been quietly working to get brick-and-mortar retailers to adopt its mobile-payment system for in-store purchases, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • This move would make Amazon Pay, which is primarily used (like PayPal) for online retail purchases, more similar to the payment services from rival companies that offer in-store options, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and the Starbucks mobile app.
  • Versions of in-store Amazon Pay are currently used at Amazon Go cashierless stores, which use “just walk out” technology to let customers pay through its app.

Amazon has found a new target to tackle in its continued pursuits to dominate retail: in-store mobile payments.

Amazon has been talking with brick-and-mortar retailers to convince them to adopt Amazon Pay, the e-commerce giant’s online-payment option The Wall Street Journal reported. The service has so far been touted as a payment option similar to PayPal for shopping online, but the Journal reported that Amazon is looking to expand Amazon Pay capabilities.

Amazon reportedly has its eye on restaurants, gas stations, and other stores that wouldn’t consider Amazon a direct competitor.

Amazon does offer similar mobile-wallet options for in-store purchases at its brick-and-mortar Amazon Go stores. These stores, which started popping up this year, are cashierless and instead use “just walk out” technology for customers to pay using the Amazon Go app.

Amazon now operates six of these stores in the U.S., with two more in Chicago and one in San Francisco coming soon, according to the Amazon website. Bloomberg reported in September that Amazon is considering opening as many as 3,000 Amazon Go stores.

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The use of mobile wallets has been on the rise, with research predicting that the number of mobile-wallet users will reach 450 million by 2020. However, the contactless-payment industry is wholly dominated by Apple, which is predicted to soon account for half of all contactless-payment transactions.

Beyond Apple, many of Amazon’s tech and retail competitors have already adopted mobile-wallet usage, including Samsung, Google, Walmart, and China’s WeChat. But while Amazon may be eyeing Apple as its main competitor in mobile payments, Starbucks has also shown impressive adoption of its mobile-payments app – the coffee giant reportedly saw more people using its payments app than Apple, Google, or Samsung.

It’s unclear exactly how Amazon Pay would work in stores, whether through scanning a QR code at checkout a la Starbucks, or tapping your phone (or smartwatch) such as with Apple Pay. The Journal reported that Amazon may also hit snags with which companies are willing to assist a company that’s likely a direct retail competitor and is credited with starting the “retail apocalypse.”