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Amazon launches mobile payment service

Amazon is offering mobile developers a new way to sell their wares. Their new mobile payment service means anyone with an Amazon account can make over-the-air purchases.

Amazon Payments today launched a new service that brings the company's payment processing tools to mobile devices. Amazon Mobile Payments Service (MPS) includes a set of APIs (application programming interfaces) that allow mobile developers and merchants to provide payment options to their customers within mobile Web sites and applications--including the convenience of Amazon's 1-Click checkout system.

There are already a number of mobile payment providers, but Amazon is the big dog of the e-commerce world with an enormous amount of customer accounts already in use. This could be an excellent option for companies that offer mass-market mobile applications and are looking for ways to easily accept payments.

The service will automatically detect the request origin, meaning a Web or mobile browser, or a mobile application so that developers don't need to re-work their applications.

Amazon MPS process
Amazon MPS process Amazon Payments

Amazon MPS offers a decent set of functionality (probably all you need) that reminds me of the RESTful nature of their AWS S3 cloud computing APIs.

For customers, it means they'll be able to make purchases on third-party mobile sites using the payment information in their Amazon accounts.

With the iPhone as leading generator of mobile application revenue, the big question is what Apple will do to combat another company offering products and payment options from mobile devices and applications. If developers can break out of the App Store and make more money with Amazon, they will certainly integrate the MPS into their apps.