Many small to midsize businesses with storefronts or shops use mobile point of sale (mPOS) units for credit card transactions. Companies such as Square and PayPal have offered free devices that mount on smartphones or tablets to provide easy transactions and even emailed or texted receipts. Recently, online retail giant Amazon has entered the fray with its new Amazon Local Register device.
According to Mobile Payments Today, Amazon is hitting hard against its competitors by offering new merchants who sign up by October 31 a 1.75 percent rate on transactions through the year 2015. January 1, 2016, the rate rises to 2.5 percent for those customers. Apparently the company did its homework prior to the device’s release. A spokesperson told Mobile Payments Today:
“We always work to offer the lowest prices for the best possible services. We have actually heard from some business owners that the only thing that would make them change their POS system is cost savings.”
Currently, Square charges 2.75 percent and PayPal charges 2.7 percent for swiped transactions, says Cruxial CIO. For more than a year of credit card transactions, that would amount to quite a savings for smaller businesses.
One area that could cause some shops to stay with Square systems, though, is that Amazon will not currently support the new EMV cards. Square announced that it would provide devices to support the new credit card standard earlier this summer. Amazon is apparently planning on waiting it out and seeing what its business customers want in regards to the EMV capabilities.
However, Amazon’s acclaimed customer support may still woo some SMBs to use its devices. Mobile Payments Today also reports that customers who use the devices in conjunction with the Kindle Fire HDX tablets will be able to access Amazon tech support with the tablet’s Mayday button. For those smaller businesses that aren’t so tech-savvy, having immediate access to technical support might be enough to convince them to use the Amazon service over the other mPOS offerings.
ZDNet says the Amazon Local Register device will also be compatible with iOS and Android devices. It also reports that Amazon is offering a bundle to small business owners who want to purchase a Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 with the new card reader for only $380.
Kim Mays has been editing and writing about IT since 1999. She currently tackles the topics of small to midsize business technology and introducing new tools for IT. Follow Kim on Google+ at google.com/+KimberlyMays6 or Twitter @blumoonky.