Amazon takes on PayPal and Square with mobile payment accessory

For a long time now, if you wanted to be able to accept credit or debit card payments on your smartphone, the choice was essentially between either Square or PayPal. We're not exactly sure why it took Amazon so long to jump into this space, but now Amazon has unveiled its own card reader, called the Amazon Local Register.

Unfortunately, Amazon's offering is far from perfect. Amazon is doing well to undercut the competition when it comes to pricing. Those who sign up before October 31 will receive a solid deal with a rate of 1.75% on transactions from now until January 1, 2016. After that date, and for those who sign up after October 31st, users will pay 2.5% on all swiped transactions. Comparatively, Square charges 2.75% per transaction, and PayPal charges 2.7%. And, the money you collect will be automatically deposited into your bank account the next day. That's a good option for users in terms of cost, but Amazon's option has fairly limited compatibility right now on Android devices. 

If you're an iOS user, you're in the clear, because the Local Register works with the newest iPads and all iPhones going all the way back to the iPhone 4. However, the only Android devices that are compatible are the Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, and S5, as well as the Amazon Fire HD and HDX. Surprisingly, not even the new Amazon Fire Phone is listed in the compatibility. Even worse, the early reviews say that you cannot use your existing Amazon account, and are forced to sign up for a new account in order to use the Local Register. 

If that still sounds like a good deal to you, it will cost $10 to get an Amazon Local Register card reader, but that cost will be credited back with the first $10 in processing fees. Amazon is obviously trying to offset those who would get a reader and never use it (for example, I have both a Square reader and a PayPal reader, and have never used either.)

source: Amazon via WSJ



1. skymitch89

Posts: 1453; Member since: Nov 05, 2010

My question is why do they have it plugged into the headphone jack? Would the data transfer/process better through the USB port instead? I can kinda understand the fact that the headphone jack is a little deeper into the device than the USB so it'll be a little more sturdy; but why not make the card reader into a case for a specific device that plugs into the USB port?

2. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

:-/ Sounds like a horrible idea to me...

3. dongk14

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

Most small businesses would probably want to leave the USB port available so that they can charge and accept payments simultaneously. Also most if not all devices have a headphone jack. Using the USB port would mean that multiple variations of the reader would be required for standards such as micro USB and lightning adapter while providing little to no immediate benifit to the business and transaction processor.

4. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

This is why credit cards with NFC are very convenient than to those that needs extra peripherals. Sometimes companies might want to use existing techs available on mobile devices just to do more.

5. snowgator

Posts: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

Hey Amazon, want to get a little leverage on your two top competitors in this field? Wouldn't hurt to make this compatible with WP. My wife owns her own jewelry business, and would still be on WP right now if a major credit card reader was available. Instead, she has the LG Flex and Pay Pal reader for her craft shows. Just tossing it out there....

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.