Amazon: The Stealth Payments Company with 100 Million Customers

Amazon’s push into P2P payments only shows that the market is wide open

The latest Amazon news to strike fear into the hearts of fintech CEOs was the whisper that the Seattle-based company was building a P2P payments platform. The thought of the network effect that could come from Amazon’s 100 million Prime customers being able to leverage a P2P platform is indeed pretty staggering. So is the value they could derive from further locking users into an ecosystem that already contains products from men’s active hoodies to smart streaming comedy.

Of course, this isn’t Amazon’s first payments play. The previous iteration, Amazon WebPay, was shut down in 2014 because nobody was using it. Why would this time be different? The obvious answer is Alexa. Amazon’s soft-spoken voice tech could be an ace card against the existing payments companies.

Unfortunately for Amazon, they’re not the only voice game in town. Google Assistant already rivals its Seattle-based cousin in its natural language recognition, and recently revamped Google Pay. Amazon’s potential network is huge with 90 million Prime subscribers, but Google’s base could be even bigger —–  85 percent of the world’s smartphones run on Android. Beyond major brands, earlier stage companies like Kasisto are already beavering away to unlock the potential of voice interfaces for financial services. 

All of this is to say that Amazon or no, payments is anyone’s game –  and that’s a big deal. PayPal has been around for 20 years, but it is far from dominant. And that makes payments very much the exception in tech. Instead of a single company dominating the space, there is a whole ecosystem of innovative companies. These can range from established players like Stripe and Currencycloud (both Bateman Group clients), serving merchants and banks respectively, all the way to newer faces like Feedzai who want to solve the crucial challenge of KYC-AML in payments.

The fact is money is just too widespread and complicated to be jammed into a single segment. Which means that the flywheel of innovation just keeps spinning in payments, Amazon may well be a heavyweight, but the fight for your consumer payments dollars is far from over.