Amazon Payments Review

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Date Established
2007
Location
Seattle, WA

Overview:

Launched in 2007, Amazon Payments is a subsidiary of mammoth online retailer Amazon.com. For eCommerce merchants, the service allows customers to complete purchases, make donations, and set up recurring payments on a merchant’s website by using their Amazon.com account. Like PayPal, one of its main competitors, payment processing is conducted inline. In other words, a customer won’t have to leave your website in order to complete a payment.

Well-known online retailers currently using Amazon Payments include Monoprice and The Clymb. Click here to view a directory of other businesses that have signed up for the service. If you’re thinking about using the service as a customer, here’s a very simple overview:

Amazon Payments integrates with a variety of eCommerce providers, including Magento and Shopify. Click here for a full list of supported e-commerce providers.

Amazon Payments has very recently consolidated its services, with the old Checkout by Amazon (for online sellers of tangible, physical goods) and Amazon Simple Pay (for digital goods such as e-books or software) being combined into a single service: Login and Pay with Amazon. Amazon Local Register, a mobile payment option that used a smartphone/tablet app and a plug-in card reader similar to Square, has been discontinued with no replacement option being offered.

On the plus side, Amazon Payments is easy to implement and generally has positive reviews. When customers complete transactions at your store using Amazon Payments, they’ll be able to access Amazon’s popular A-to-z Guarantee and 1-Click shipping options. Also, customers can save time by using shipping and billing info already “on file” in their Amazon account when making purchases in your store. On the minus side, customers must have already made a purchase through Amazon in the past or be willing to open a new account in order to complete transactions using the service. Plus, some online shoppers still prefer to use PayPal, which remains the industry leader in third-party processors. Read on for our full review.

Products and Services:

Amazon Payments has recently consolidated some of their older, separate services into a single e-commerce solution: Login and Pay with Amazon. Features and highlights of this new service include:

  • Identity. Merchants using Login and Pay with Amazon will gain access to customer’s names and e-mail addresses, allowing for a personalized online shopping experience. For customers concerned about privacy, this information (and whatever payment method you have set up on your Amazon account) is the only information from your account that is divulged.
  • Inline checkout. Customers can enter payment information and complete purchases without having to leave your website. This is convenient for the customer and also increases the likelihood of completing a sale.
  • Automatic payments. Login and Pay with Amazon supports recurring payments and automatically renewing subscriptions.
  • Fraud protection. This free service protects your account from fraudulent transactions, lowering your costs and protecting your business.
  • Merchant website integration. Amazon Payments provides a library of standardized payment buttons (and the code snippets to go with them) that you can add to your website. This library is available on the Merchant Tools page of their website.

Login and Pay with Amazon replaces several older services which are being retired. If you’ve used Amazon Payments in the past or are still using one of these older services, you’ll want to note the sunset dates and recommended alternatives:

  • Checkout by Amazon – This was the old service that was used to sell both physical and digital products online. It has been replaced by Login and Pay with Amazon. While both services offer the same basic features, Login and Pay with Amazon features improved, more streamlined integration with merchant websites. Amazon Payments is still supporting Checkout by Amazon, but new user registrations are no longer being accepted. If you’re still using this old service, you should contact Amazon Payments to see about upgrading to Login and Pay with Amazon.
  • Amazon Simple Pay – This service allowed merchants to sell digital products (i.e., video games or e-books) or collect donations. It offered the same features as Checkout by Amazon, but didn’t support the sale of tangible, physical goods. Amazon Simple Pay was retired on June 1, 2015, with existing account holders being migrated over to Login and Pay with Amazon. For more information, see their End-of-Life FAQ.
  • Amazon Local Register – This service used a smartphone app and plug-in swiper to allow payments using a smartphone or tablet. Despite its apparent popularity, Amazon Payments stopped accepting new customers on October 30, 2015. The service was completely shut down on February 1, 2016. See the Amazon Register to be Discontinued FAQ for more details. While Amazon is not offering a replacement service, Square is an obvious alternative for merchants who need this capability.

Fees and Rates:

Login and Pay with Amazon features a simple, easy-to-understand fee schedule which is disclosed in detail on their website. Here’s the basics:

2.9% processing fee + $0.30 authorization fee per transaction (for domestic US transactions)

3.9% processing fee + $0.30 authorization fee per transaction (for cross-border transactions)

That’s it. There are no monthly fees, no setup fees, and no fees for PCI compliance. There’s also no early termination fees, as contracts are month-to-month.

Fees are based on a percentage of each transaction amount (that’s the total cost of items plus shipping and tax) and the authorization fee. Note that after sales are posted as “shipped” Amazon holds funds for three to five days. You’ll also have all initial transactions held in Amazon’s reserve for 14 days when you open an account, so be prepared to wait longer to get paid at first. Chargebacks are charged a $20.00 disputed transaction fee. More details about the fee schedule are available here. Overall, these rates are very similar to what competitors like PayPal and 2Checkout will charge you.

Contract Length and Cancellation Fee:

Amazon Payments doesn’t charge an early termination fee, and doesn’t make you sign up for a long-term contract. You can cancel at any time, with no penalty.

Sales and Advertising Transparency:

Amazon is so well-established that it doesn’t need to rely on traditional sales or marketing campaigns to reach users. With payment information stored for more than 200 million individuals living around the globe, it’s easy for the internet giant to spread the word about services through its site, via referral, or word-of-mouth. There are no hidden fees associated with Login and Pay with Amazon. As long as you take the time to read the FAQ’s on their website, you should have a good grasp of how the service works.

Customer Service and Support:

Amazon Payments offers businesses several different ways to educate themselves about the service, or to get in touch if problems or questions come up. Resources include the following:

  • The Amazon Payments website includes an extensive Support section, with numerous topics for customers, merchants, and developers.
  • The website also features a Merchant Tools page, with payment buttons for integrating Amazon Payments with your seller website. This page also has a useful Marketing Guide.
  • The Amazon Payments Documentation page features Integration Guides, SDKs, and other resources to help you get set up.
  • The Amazon Services Seller Forum has an Amazon Payments category featuring numerous discussions about using Login and Pay with Amazon.
  • For more personalized assistance, a Contact Form is available for e-mail customer support.
  • Phone support is also available, but only after you sign up for an Amazon Payments account. So, we weren’t able to check in and see how easy or difficult it is to reach a customer service representative like we do for most reviews. Service reps are available from 5:00 AM until 9:00 PM PST.

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

Compared to competitors like PayPal, we found fewer complaints floating around online, although that is in part due to the fact that Amazon Payments is still a relatively new kid on the block. We did find a few notable common complaints:

  • Withholding Funds and Freezing Accounts – Users report Amazon holds funds for 90 days or longer and freezes accounts without prior notice.
  • Accusations of Fraud – Some Amazon Payments merchants attest to being falsely accused of selling bootlegged goods. Like virtually all processors, the service will red flag your account if it finds evidence of fraud. Read Amazon’s list of prohibited items and activities here. If this list includes items or services you offer, you might want to consider a payment processor that works with merchants selling high-risk products instead, like Durango Merchant Services. You can read details about ways to avoid account freezes, holds, and terminations over here.
  • Initial Hold – As mentioned above, Amazon’s reserve policy states that funds are held for an observation period of 14 days for new accounts, causing an initial delay in payment. After that they’re deposited daily.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

In addition to testimonials on the Amazon Payments site, there are several reports online from users who are satisfied with the payment processor. A thorough search resulted in the following common positive attributes, including:

  • Increased Orders – Some users associate the integration of Amazon Payments into their site with increased sales.
  • Quick Payment Process – Since shipping and billing info is on file with Amazon, customers can complete orders lickety-split.
  • Merchant Protection – Merchants like being under Amazon’s umbrella for fraud and chargeback protection.
  • Name familiarity – Since millions of people already use Amazon, customers that are less likely to input personal data in a new online store will likely feel comfortable buying through your Amazon Payments account.

Here’s a sample testimonial from fashion retailer AllSaints:

Integrations and Add-Ons:

In order to complete a purchase using Amazon Payments, customers will need to already have or be willing to sign up for an Amazon account. All major credit cards can be used in Amazon’s system if they’re connected to a U.S. billing address.

Amazon integrates with numerous shopping carts, although that list isn’t nearly as hearty as PayPal’s. While PayPal integrates with more than 250 carts, Amazon currently supports only 23. You can view Amazon’s full list of cart providers here. Fortunately, leading shopping cart Shopify, one of our favorites, has recently been added to Amazon’s provider list.

Final Verdict:

If you’re already a seller with Amazon, using Amazon Payments as a third-party processor for your eCommerce site is a no-brainer. At the same time, Login and Pay with Amazon also offers significant advantages for sellers and organizations not currently affiliated with the company. You’ll be able to manage sales tax, shipping, and cancellations on the Amazon interface. You’ll also be guarded from fraud-related chargebacks that fit into the service’s payments protection policy. In theory, since customers won’t leave your website to complete sales your conversion rates will improve as well.

If I was a merchant looking for a third-party payment option as a backup in case my traditional merchant account hit any snags, I’d surely consider Amazon Payments. It has name recognition (although not quite as much as PayPal), an intuitive interface, and plenty of users who already have Amazon accounts. In fact, I’d most likely decide to try the service for several months, check sales reports for an uptick in transactions, and go from there.

One word of caution: integrating Amazon Payments with your website requires a little familiarity with HTML, even if it’s mostly just cutting and pasting code snippets to add the payment buttons. You’ll want to either be comfortable with editing the code yourself, or have access to a web developer who can do it for you.

Overall, Amazon Payments rates a solid 4.5 out of 5 stars, and we strongly recommend it for eCommerce merchants. Click here to sign up for Amazon Payments and see if it’s the right fit for your business.

Tom DeSimone
Tom loves asking tough questions and getting straight answers, so he has a lot of fun calling payment processors for Merchant Maverick to cut through their smoke and mirrors and find the real deals. He has run a full-time editorial business from his home in New York’s Hudson Valley since 2010 and could not imagine a better job. When not busy writing and keeping credit processors honest, Tom enjoys backpacking in the mountains.
Tom DeSimone
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8 Comments

    Cking

    Thanks for these reviews.

    I am now convinced not to use Amazon Payments for now.

    It is absolutely a typical action of Jeff Bazos. He throws the S** against the wall to see if it sticks and then start working on it.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Linda H.

    Was the writer paid by Amazon for this? Because whatever bad thing you’ve ever done in your life, you still don’t deserve Amazon Payments and its notorious incompetence. They not only made error after error, but getting it resolved is pretty near impossible. They made a 1 cent error and refused to close my account because of that one cent, that they couldn’t seem to remove. They hold your money for any or no reason, with muddled explanations. Good luck getting the right customer service email as your request for help floats through Amazon limbo. In 15 years of PayPal, I had very few problems; in 1 year of Amazon Payments, I had more than I can count here. Save yourself the stress!

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    David BB

    I am having similar problems as others who have commented here:

    1) Account suspended without prior notification AFTER several hundred dollars were charged.
    2) Little or no response after I sent in the requested documents
    3) Nearly one month has passed without any resolution to what was a simple process with other processing firms (PayPal, Simplify by MasterCard).

    When working the service is acceptable and my customers enjoy the security and familiarity of using Amazon Payments. But this experience of suspending my account has been very negative.

    Rating22222

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    John Grant

    How many times do you have to submit your business info. to Amazon Payments for a Kickstarter campaign? Seven is the last count, and this is for the second go round! It took a while, but they passed us for the first go round. Do you think they used the info. from the first go round for the second, of course not! You just can’t fix stupid.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Martin

    I don’t understand why Jeff Bezos let’s this go on…Amazon Payments has an issue with verification of business accounts, then passes those issues to personal accounts…I thought I was the only one…I am glad to see others having difficulties that have not been addressed by Amazon.com senior management.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Karen

    I agree with the person who said this article must have been written by Amazon. I’ve been using Amazon checkout as an option on my website for a year now.. I’ve been using paypal for the last 11 years.. While Amazon checkout works, and I haven’t had any customer problems with it, I don’t like the fact that they hold my money for 7 days, after the item is shipped, and then it takes an additional 3-4 days to hit my checking account.. Plus, they only release funds on certain days, so all in all, Amazon uses my money for free for appx 2 weeks. They receive credit card fees for each transaction, so I’m not really happy with them holding my money, for no real reason… I’ve contacted them about this and they’ve told me they have a “tier” system.. After 6 months, I can ask them to move me to the next tier and so on… I’m not sure what the next tier is, but in the past year of offering Amazon, they have never had to contact me about any problems and I have a perfect rating with them.. I don’t really like the fact that I have to “prove” to them that I’m “worthy” of their next tier.. I’ve been doing this for 11 years and really don’t appreciate being treated like I’m a child… Another problem with the system is shipping.. They don’t offer a shipping program like paypal.. I’ve had my share of problems with paypal over the last 11 years, but I have to say, in the past year, they have upgraded their system so it’s working really well. They now offer many new features and seem to be really pulling their stuff together… I had high hopes for Amazon checkout, but have to say, after a year of using them, the hopes have been dashed… I plan on removing them as an option from my shopping cart..

    Rating33333

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Simone

    This is a horrible service. In addition to losing funds, the customer service reps are very unprofessional. Twice I was put on hold for over a hour, and I was hung up on several times. It took over 4 hours of persistence on my part, for them to finally rectify an issue that was their fault to begin with. I would strongly suggest businesses not use this service.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Mike D

    This is obviously an advertisement for Amazon Payments, and frankly its very untrue. First problem you have with amazon payments is your customers will see that Amazon logo and think “hmmm, why don’t I just buy this right on Amazon”. Second, they will mess with merchants putting reserves on your account, or better yet in our case, they will let you transact, then hold you money in reserve and then send you an email saying “we cannot verify your information” – if you cannot verify information, why did you allow the account to collect funds from customers in the first place? I am sure Amazon does not need my pennies, so my conclusion is – this service and people involved are absolutely clueless – which is even worse then if it was some type of scam. Don’t even get me started on poorly written API documentation and horrible technical support who know nothing.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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