Amazon dipped its toes into set-top boxes, streaming music and even smartphones this year, and now the retail giant seems poised to conquer mobile payments. The company just launched Amazon Local Register, a $10 credit card reader and app combo built to take on merchant mainstays like Square.
As with other mobile payment systems, Local Register allows you to turn your smartphone or tablet into a portable register for selling anything from clothes to food. The card reader itself, a piece of black plastic emblazoned with the Amazon logo, accepts all major credit and debit cards, for a fee.
When you sign up for Local Register, your first $10 worth of transaction fees will be fully recouped. Amazon takes a 2.5 percent cut after that, but those who register before Oct. 31 will get a reduced rate of 1.75 percent until Jan. 1, 2016. You can transfer any money you make to a bank account within one business day, or blow it all immediately on Amazon.
Comparatively, the Square reader is free, but takes a slightly higher cut from all purchases, at 2.75 percent per swipe. Square's subtle, white box design still wins in the style department, as Amazon's Local Register looks a bit bulky by comparison.
The Amazon Local Register app is available now on the Amazon Appstore, Google Play and Apple's App Store. In addition to taking payments, the app allows you to save product images, customize tax and tip settings and view sales reports.
You can buy your own Local Register now on Amazon.com, or wait until the reader hits Staples stores on August 19. Amazon is already ubiquitous when it comes to buying stuff online; only time will tell if the e-retailer takes over real-world merchandising.