Saturday, August 04, 2007

Amazon Flexible Payment Service Launches

Hot on the heels of the Amazon Fresh beta launch, the Amazon Flexible Payment Service has just launched. It provides easy access to the millions of existing Amazon customers who have their payment preferences registered with Amazon. Amazon has established a very high level of trust regarding payment services (much better than, say, Paypal where if you have a problem you are SOL. Problems with Amazon payments are dealt with by Amazon customer service who's service quality is legendary). The service has a number of interesting capabilities including:
  • Developers can create payment instructions that are as simple or complex as they desire. For example, creating a relatively complex business model around micro-payments is easy to do with Amazon FPS. The aggregation feature lets you track and aggregate micro-payments into a single payment transaction, saving on transaction processing costs and avoiding having to build complex ledger functionality into your own applications. Without this capability micro-payments would be difficult or cost-prohibitive.
  • Amazon FPS exposes a different fee structure for each of the underlying payment methods enabled: credit cards, bank account debits, and Amazon Payments balance transfers. Amazon's cost to process a payment through a bank account debit is less than Amazon's cost via credit card. Amazon's cost for processing an Amazon Payments balance transfer is less still. By exposing different fees for each of these three methods, Amazon can pass on savings from bank account debits and balance transfers, allowing developers to save money. In each case, Amazon takes on the complexity of managing security and fraud protection.

  • Amazon customers can pay using the same login credentials and payment information they already have on file. This helps Amazon customers keep their payment information secure and removes the friction 3rd party developers would face if they needed to get customers to enter their payment information before they could make a purchase.

The folks at FreshBooks have been testing out Amazon FPS. Their story and feedback makes interesting reading.

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