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

Amazon Reader
Amazon's taking on the competition
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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 building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Then followed a weekly tech column in a local business magazine in Mauritius, a late night tech radio programme called Clicplus and a freelancing gig at the now-defunct, Theinquirer, with the legendary Mike Magee as mentor. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global techfests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. He has an affinity for anything hardware and staunchly refuses to stop writing reviews of obscure products or cover niche B2B software-as-a-service providers.