Amazon Releases a Digital Wallet for Android and Fire Phones
Amazon has released a beta version of an Amazon Wallet App that is currently focused on shopping and discounts, though it could serve as a launch pad for mobile payments.
The app is available on the Google Play and Amazon App Store for Android devices, and can store loyalty and gift cards, but does not have a mobile payments function or an ability to enroll credit and debit cards from a mobile device.
In its beta form, Amazon Wallet is similar to Apple Passbook, which also stores loyalty cards but does not have a built-in payments function. Amazon Wallet will come installed on Amazon.com's recently revealed Fire Phone, which has a heavy emphasis on shopping and could serve as a gateway to more robust payment capabilities.
The Amazon Wallet's contents are managed from amazon.com/wallet, which also lists any payment cards attached to the user's Amazon.com account. To add a gift or loyalty card to Amazon Wallet, users either type the card's number or scan its bar code. The app also prompts the user to photograph both sides of a card to use to identify the card. The app can be locked with a PIN.
Amazon has made a number of recent moves to tap mobile and online commerce, including a "guest checkout" system called Login and Pay with Amazon that allows shoppers to use their Amazon.com credentials at other e-commerce sites; a Twitter shopping feature that lets people make purchases from Amazon.com by replying to tweets; and Amazon Coins, a virtual currency used to purchase digital content for Amazon devices.
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.