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Amazon launches PayPal competitor

Amazon is beefing up the competition to PayPal with a new service that allows customers to make purchases with their Amazon credentials on partnering websites.

Amazon is beefing up the competition to PayPal with a new service that allows customers to make purchases with their Amazon credentials on partnering websites.

(Credit: Amazon)

Amazon got itself a pretty sweet gig when it partnered with Kickstarter to process payments made to the crowdfunding website. Now it's expanding that service into the wider market with a service it is catchily calling "Log in and Pay with Amazon".

Log in and Pay with Amazon will provide sites with buttons that users can click to make purchases using the account details already held in their Amazon accounts — from the user end, it will look very similar to the system PayPal already has in place.

Tom Taylor, Vice President of Amazon Payments, said, "Amazon has more than 215 million active customer accounts. Login and Pay with Amazon enables companies to make millions of our customers their customers by inviting online shoppers with Amazon credentials to access their account information safely and securely with a single login."

The system aims to provide customers with the simplicity provided by PayPal; that is, rather than create a separate log-in and provide payment details to every single website, where security may not be the best, they can continue using a system they already trust.

PayPal has long held a monopoly on online payment processing, sometimes to vendors' dismay — it's not uncommon for the company to freeze funds if it deems account activity suspicious (such as when Markus "Notch" Persson's Minecraft funds were frozen for accumulating too quickly) or using the wrong button on their website (such as when Regretsy's April Winchell used the wrong button for a charity drive).

Amazon's move could potentially break the hold PayPal has over the sector, or push the company towards creating a more user-friendly service.

Log in and Pay with Amazon is ready for both web and mobile now (Android, iOS and Kindle), and offers competitive fees — although vendors need a US phone number and credit card to join. However, the service should be available to shoppers globally, depending on the individual websites' shipping policies. You can find out more on the Amazon Payments website.