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Shaping the future of finance

First PayPal, then Google, now Amazon and the Banks

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We all know how successful PayPal is but, just in case you missed it, then checkout the story I wrote about them in March. 

of Checkout, there is a potential competitor to PayPal emerging in the
form of Google's Checkout system.  There's already been a number of
spats between the two firms, with PayPal's parent firm eBay pulling all of its advertising
from Google in June after Google had threatened to disrupt the annual
eBay merchants conference with a promotion for Google Checkout.

Over the weekend then, it's interesting to note that Amazon launched their new Flexible Payments Services, a complete set of API's for developers to integrate payments functionality "between any two entities, humans or computers".

key sentence on Amazon's web services site includes: "We've taken all
that we know about dealing with credit cards, bank accounts, fraud
checking and customer service and wrapped it all up into one convenient

And, just in case you don't clickthrough to have a look, here's the low-down:

can use the extensive feature set of Amazon FPS to conduct a wide
variety of transactions under virtually any set of constraints. Key
features include:

  • Send and receive money using credit card, bank account or Amazon Payments balance transfer as payment methods.
  • Create
    'Payment Instructions' to define conditions and constraints desired for
    a given transaction, and programmatically obtain payment authorizations
    or 'tokens' that represent these Payment Instructions from customers.
  • Execute one-time, multiple, or recurring payments on behalf of customers.
  • Aggregate micro-transactions into a single larger transaction using Prepaid and Postpaid capabilities.
  • Build
    payment applications where you are neither the sender nor the recipient
    of funds. You can build marketplace applications that enable the
    movement of money between two third parties.
  • View account balances, transaction histories, and transaction details on the Amazon Payments web site.
  • Utilize the Amazon FPS sandbox to build and test applications without using real money or incurring any transaction charges."

Mind you, even with Amazon, Google and PayPal in the frame, there are still others who want to get in on the act, such as Bill Me Later from I4 Commerce.  Bill
Me Later is another PayPal-style payment option on the Net and the
reason it should be taken seriously is that they have some serious
backing, including Chase, First Data, Citi and Equifax.

So, having dominated online payments for the last five years, PayPal do face some serious new competition.

Should be interesting to watch.

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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