Hosting the largest online marketplace and offering tablets and a smartphone on which to shop for digital and physical goods, Amazon now has a digital wallet to organize payment methods, whether you’re shopping online, via mobile, or in-store.
Amazon spokesperson Julie Law said that in addition to being pre-installed on Fire Phone, Amazon offers a beta version of the Amazon Wallet app for Android phones in the Amazon Appstore and on Google Play. “We look forward to getting customer feedback on the beta app,” she said.
Amazon customers can also load their physical (and digital) gift cards onto their Amazon Wallet. Blackhawk Network, a leading prepaid and gift card network, announced Wednesday it had teamed up with Amazon to expand the Amazon Wallet app capabilities, explaining that Amazon customers could now load information from their existing physical and digital gift cards into their Amazon Wallet.
The advantage to customers: they can see and track the value of their gift cards, and they can leave physical cards at home and still make a purchase at many locations.
Amazon’s Law said customers can view and manage the payment methods stored in their Amazon accounts online, “including credit and debit cards, Shop with Points and Amazon Payments stored value balances.”
For those who want a closer look at how digital wallets work, PCWorld compared the new, still-in-beta Amazon Wallet with the Google Wallet, which has been around for a much longer period of time but requires retailers to use NFC technology
Law said the Amazon Wallet app, developed for Fire Phone, was still in the early stages and provided information about its additional capabilities:
The Amazon Wallet allows customers to store, in digital form, loyalty and membership cards for rewards programs and they can also turn many of those accounts into a barcode or QR code for easy use at select locations. Customer will also be able to track the balance on their gift cards, including Applebees, Sephora, GameStop and AMC Entertainment.
But Amazon Wallet offers so much more. Shoppers will no longer miss out on discounts, points or coupons because of a misplaced key-fob or forgotten membership number. Customer can use the Amazon Wallet app to store just about any information. For example, securely store a license plate number or insurance card – anything that you could need at a moment’s notice. Simply take a picture of any card or information you want to store and stop hunting for those cards and membership numbers. It also enables snapping a picture of the front and back of cards in order to keep customer service contact information handy.
All card information stored in the Amazon Wallet app is encrypted. For additional security, customers can set an additional 4-digit PIN which will be required to access the details of any card or to change any app settings.
A Blackhawk Network spokesperson said his company had announced working relationships with PayPal Wallet as well as with Amazon Wallet, as examples. (Users can also load Blackhawk gift cards to Google Wallet.)