Amazon's new "Login and Pay with Amazon" service is a combination of other Amazon payment services with usage available through an API. This means Amazon Payments will be more readily available to music tech companies and customers will be seeing Amazon payment buttons on a wider range of sites. Given PayPal's history of withholding payments and making them difficult to get back and the fact that all other new digital payment processes have a serious lack of brand recognition, this move should also encourage bands and low-tech site operators to check out the simpler and already available services called Amazon Simply Pay or Checkout by Amazon.
Amazon's Advantage in Providing Payment Services
Some things are harder than others. Providing secure online payments that people trust is probably one of the hardest things of all. PayPal is here because they were able to create a secure system while losing millions of dollars to fraud. PayPal's longevity and widespread use has also helped it build a recognizable brand but its trustworthiness has been eroded from a variety of incidents in which payments were withheld based on algorithms without timely human follow-up and, in the process, jeopardized small businesses and nonprofits.
While payment contenders with direct relevance to music ecommerce, such as Chirpify and Gumroad, seem to be taking advantage of what's been learned about creating secure systems and treating your customers right, they are still in the brand building stage.
But Amazon has a huge reservoir of recognition and trust built from years of experience. This gives Amazon a powerful advantage in expandings its payment programs. Given that they are also required for Kickstarter, DIY and indie use across disciplines is growing. Though new Kickstarter users had some surprises with the initial delay in getting into the program and setting up bank payments, I have yet to hear additional complaints.
Login and Pay with Amazon
Amazon has a number of payment options for sites that aren't selling merchandise directly through Amazon's own site. These include Checkout by Amazon (physical goods only) and Amazon Simple Pay (digital and physical sales) that are designed for HTML-based integration with individual sites. A variety of shopping cart integrations makes Amazon Payments available via such popular indie ecommerce choices as WooCommerce.
Amazon's new "Login and Pay with Amazon" combines Amazon's site log-in services with their payment services via an API. This is basically developer territory for tech companies but should give Amazon Payments much more visibility as a trusted way to pay on other sites without revealing one's credit card information to additional companies.
Benefits of using Amazon Payments beyond brand recognition include:
"When they login with Amazon, you get the customer's name, email address and zip code so you can create an account and personalize their checkout experience."
"Make it easy for customers to create a profile and view their order history."
"Offer them a hassle-free way to pay on smartphones and tablets with no extra set-up for you."
"2.9% +$0.30 per transaction, or less."
If you're thinking about using Amazon Payments but aren't sure which particular offering meets your needs, you can use this form to request help.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.