Last month we learned Amazon’s top secret Lab126 was developing a credit card scanner to rival devices from Square and PayPal. Now, a leaked internal Staples document obtained by 9to5Mac reveals that Amazon’s latest piece of hardware could launch as soon as August 12.
The rumored Amazon card reader will presumably work the same as Square, offering an easy way for small businesses to scan credit and debit cards by plugging the gadget into a smartphone or tablet. Amazon’s device appears to be priced at just $9.99 however, unlike Square, which offers its basic product for free but charges more for advanced hardware packages and earns revenue on a percentage of sales.
Amazon’s credit card reader may just be a first step though, as it paves the way for biometric-based mobile payments. In the future, Amazon may try to manage your in-store payments no matter what form they take. Want to swipe a card? Try the company’s physical reader. Using a gift certificate? You can sign in with the new Amazon Wallet app. You’ll even be able to leave your wallet at home and pay by simply scanning your fingerprint, if Amazon has its way.
Amazon isn’t alone in its plans to dominate mobile payments. Google’s definitely eyeing the market as well, and Apple’s expressed interest in leveraging Touch ID to offer its own mobile payment platform. Amazon may have an advantage over the competition thanks to its status as the place to buy anything and everything online. Delivering its own card-scanning hardware into stores could give the company an even bigger edge over the rest of the industry.