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Amazon Payments makes gains but still lags behind rivals

The payments service brought in 10 million new customers in 2016 and nearly doubled its payment volume.

Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

It's still no PayPal, but Amazon's payments service is picking up steam.

The online retailer said Tuesday that Amazon Payments has been used by over 33 million customers since it launched in 2013. That's up from 23 million customers a year earlier.

In addition, payment volume nearly doubled last year for the service, which lets people use their Amazon login to pay on other websites, including Nine West and L'Occitane. The company also expanded the service last year to France, Italy and Spain.

The service, one of several efforts Amazon has made to expand into payments, is another way for Amazon to build customers' loyalty and collect more data about them by getting people to use their Amazon logins in more places. Plus, the company makes extra money from Amazon Payments: 2.9 percent and 30 cents for every US transaction.

Still, Amazon Payments remains well behind PayPal, the leader in digital payments, which said it has just under 200 million active customer accounts. Amazon is expected to continue facing an uphill battle in payments against PayPal, Apple Pay and Google's Android Pay because many retailers are likely skeptical of providing sales information to a major rival.

Amazon hopes to keep building the service and using it for simpler checkouts at stores, including its own Amazon Books locations.