Amazon goes global with payments partner program

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is expanding its Payments Partner Program to merchants beyond the United States to now include those in Germany, United Kingdom and Japan.

The program allows merchants – on an invite-only basis – to offer shoppers the option to checkout using their Amazon account. The idea is that it streamlines the process and grows average orders.

Those merchants allowed to participate offer the "Login and Pay with Amazon" option in the customer's shopping cart. When selected, the user and payment method is authenticated by Amazon using the stored information in that person's account.

But the new Global Partner program offers an expanded set of services to third party e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, one of the companies now listed as a Partner. Shopify merchant partners now have access to Amazon Payments as a tool through the platform without signing on directly with Amazon.

"Our merchants want to offer their customers a payment solution that is trusted, easy and familiar," said Brennan Loh, director of business development at Shopify.

There are three tiers available: Premier Partner, Certified Partner and Certified Developer. Each level has distinct certified categories for e-commerce platform providers and developers. Members are eligible to receive account management, planning support, technical resources and training, Partner directory listing and Partner designation with logos. Certain Partners may also be eligible for co-marketing activities.

The Amazon Payments Partner Program launched in 2013. In January, the company said transactions volume had jumped 150 percent and the number of merchants using Pay with Amazon grew by 200 percent.

More than 23 million account holders have paid with Amazon on other sites, and with more than 285 million account holders, there's a lot of room to grow this business, online and with mobile wallets.

And while Amazon is hardly alone in trying to grow their payments business – PayPal, Google, Visa and Apple all have payment programs – the ability to integrate the option into an existing platform could gain traction particularly among smaller to mid-sized merchants, many of which are already selling on Amazon in some form.

For more:
- see this Amazon press release
- see this TechCrunch story
- see this Reuters article