The ‘Amazon Bank’ Effect
A consumer today can use Amazon Balance to top up online and offline, AmazonPay to pay for services; and, if they’re a Prime customer, receive 2% cash back on every purchase. That looks an awful lot like a bank balance, with one click pay that also incentivizes the consumer to spend with the benefits a bank-issued card might provide. With Amazon Pay Places, consumers can pay for in-store and order ahead shopping experiences using their Amazon app rather than with a card, cash (even checks where they’re still used), using their Amazon account information.
Amazon also provides online merchants with the ability to add a button on their websites’ checkout pages that let shoppers pay via their Amazon account info. The idea is that by doing so, consumers are less likely to abandon carts and thus more likely to accelerate the checkout process. So there you have funding, payments, and lending facilities for SMEs all within one ecosystem.
Similarly, the PayPal Cash MasterCard will let users access the money in their PayPal account to shop online or in stores and withdraw cash from ATMs anywhere MasterCard is accepted. Unbanked users can deposit a paycheck into their PayPal account … for free. Consumers who enroll in these features will be eligible to receive Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) pass-through insurance on the funds held in their PayPal account, with no minimum balance required.
If Amazon is lending you money, do you view it as the online bookseller? Is it now your bank? The rapid-response delivery firm when you’ve run out of washing powder? At any given point in time, it could be any of those because Amazon and others, such as Apple and Google, have a brand that stretches to encompass multiple service offerings. Try doing that with a bank brand – you can’t.