Amazon launches affordable credit card reader to take on PayPal and Square

Amazon Reader
Amazon's taking on the competition

Amazon has long been criticised for taking business away from local firms but the online retailer's latest move – the launch of a mobile card reader - looks to recapture some of that karma.

Amazon Local Register, valued at US$10 (around £7, or AU$13), is a secure card reader that's only available in US for the time being and comes with $10 worth of credit towards processing fees when ordered. Amazon's plans were leaked in the past month when an inventory report showing incoming stock escaped from US-based office stationary supplier Staples.

The tiny device connects via the audio port to any Android, iOS or Fire OS devices (Amazon lists 11 devices including the antiquated Apple iPhone 4).

Downloading the app helps convert the smartphone or tablet into a portable cash register that allows better tipping, faster deposits, more powerful reporting, automated sales tax, easy employee setup and simple refunds.

Cutting costs

As a sweetener, Amazon will cut its charge to 1.75% for the next 15 months for swiped transactions while offering a flat 2.75% fee for manually keyed transactions and live phone support.

There are no other hidden fees (chargebacks, refunds or international cards) and Amazon's charges are competitive compared to Square and Paypal here.

Expect them to react, possibly with more features or lower fees. Amazon stocks Square's reader as well as Intuit's mobile card reader and PayAnywhere's solution.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.