Amazon is to expand further into the online payments market, managing subscription payments for start-ups and other companies. Consumers will be able to use credit card details already stored on Amazon to pay for services such as monthly phone bills or digital music subscriptions, with Amazon charging a fee for each transaction.
The move marks another step by Amazon's into its role as a middleman for third-party sellers, which accounts for 40 per cent of its sales and allows it to expand its reach beyond its website. The online payment market has long been dominated by eBay's PayPal, but Amazon is increasingly positioning themselves as a challenger.
"You should see it as one of many things that we'll do to expand where people might think about Amazon helping them," said Amazon vice president of seller services Tom Taylor. "If you think about giving a merchant that you may not know very well the right to continue to charge your credit card in the future, you really want to know that a good relationship with Amazon stands behind that."
The service comes ahead of an announcement on 18 June by Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos widely expected to unveil a smartphone, which may prove a key part of expanding Amazon's role in mobile payments.