Amazon Considering Jumping on the NFC Bandwagon

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

Adding velocity to the NFC rumor frenzy is Amazon. According to this Bloomberg story and anonymous tipsters, the Amazon Payments group is looking at an NFC-based service that includes both payments and mobile commerce that leans heavily in Amazon’s direction. The mobile commerce piece may be particularly troubling for retailers:

Amazon is also considering creating NFC-based marketing services, one of the people familiar with Amazon’s project said. For instance, a consumer shopping for jeans who can’t find the right size in a retail store might be able to tap a handset against the item’s NFC tag to locate the correct item for order through

Amazon already offers an application for Apple’s iPhone, called Price Check by Amazon, that lets consumers compare prices of in-store items with Amazon’s by scanning bar codes, snapping pictures, or saying or typing the product’s name.

An Amazon payment service at brick-and-mortar stores would put the merchant on the horns of a dilemma. Getting paid is always good and Amazon’s payments rates may be competitive. Its strong fraud management controls would certainly bring advantages to the merchant. But it’s also a “fox in the henhouse” play.

For consumers who trust Amazon with both payment credentials and product recommendations, the service could be very useful. But again, it’s the bricks-and-mortar merchant who has to wrestle with the idea of doing business with a ferocious competitor. Given the profusion of NFC payments schemes, the answer to that will likely be a loud “no!”

The online retailer will decide whether and when to unveil the NFC mobile-payment services in the next three to five months, one of the people said.

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