Amazon Payments takes on PayPal with new tools, certification

In a bid to encourage the quick spread of its payments platform, Amazon is enrolling companies that provide e-commerce services to merchants into a robust certification program.

The Seattle tech giant offers the companies, developers and e-commerce agencies it certifies tools that would make it easier for their clients to adopt Amazon Payments, as well as technical and administrative support and training. Amazon says it will also offer joint-marketing opportunities to certain partners, increasing their visibility to potential clients.

The certification program, dubbed Amazon Payments Global Partner Program, is free, and available in the U.S., Germany, the U.K. and Japan; but participation is by invitation only. Some get to be "Premier Partners," with special perks including instructor-led training and unlimited attendance to special events. Aspiring "partners" can register on a website.

The move is a broadside in an increasingly crowded fight for manning the cash register of Internet commerce, pitting Amazon against the likes of Apple and PayPal.

Amazon Payments allow merchants to charge customers through the information contained in their Amazon accounts. That saves customers the trouble of entering their over and over, which is not only convenient but also gives them peace of mind when shopping for the first time at a website they don't know.

For the small and medium businesses that are so far Amazon Payments' main adopters, it takes away some of the friction in acquiring new clients. But big companies like Southwest Airlines are deploying the platform, too, encouraged by the fact that many people have Amazon accounts.


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