Amazon readying payment card reader, Square releases EMV version

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) looks to be readying for a launch of credit card reading hardware in the next few weeks that would land the online retailer squarely in a space occupied by mobile card reader Square.

According to documents from Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS), the retailer is preparing to carry a new product called the Amazon Card Reader, which will sit on shelves alongside Square. PayPal and Staples also have products in this category, reported 9to5Mac. The hardware, which will likely connect to smartphones to process payments, will cost $9.99.

The exact launch date is not known, but Staples has been asked to hold off signage related to the Amazon Card Reader until August 12.

Amazon's Lab126 hardware division is also rumored to be developing other mobile payment-related products that focus on biometric fingerprint scanners.

Last month, Amazon launched a Wallet app for smartphones, as well as its first smartphone, the Fire Phone. The phone, four years in the making, includes the Firefly app, which uses the phone's microphone and camera to recognize any real-world product.

Meanwhile, Square will release a version of its mobile card reader to work with EMV, or chip-and-PIN, cards. The device will launch in early 2015 and work a little differently than the magnetic swipe card readers.

Users will simply dip the shorter end of the card into the reader, rather than swiping the longer side, according to PaymentsSource. The reader will also support magnetic strip cards and the company will continue to offer the older versions for use exclusively with magnetic strip cards, although retailers that don't transition to the new EMV systems by October 2015 will face an increase in fraud liability.

*A version of this story originally appeared on FierceRetailIT's sister publication, FierceRetail.

For more:
-See this 9to5mac article
-See this Payments Source story
-See this Square blog post

Related stories:
What retailers need to know about reducing fraud with EMV chip and PCI standards
EMV migration won't save retail
Amazon loses $126 million while revenues soar
Amazon offers incentives for Fire Phone apps
Amazon's wearable store gives category stamp of approval

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