I don't usually jump on the bandwagon and review a new mobile wallet - but Amazon is a company I watch closely regarding the Future of Money and Transactions. Today they launched their mobile wallet. I was really excited because - it's Amazon - they've got their new phone (which I am considering switching from my beloved Samsung) and well, Amazon has huge assets and generally does innovative things.
I immediately installed it on my Android Phone.
It's clear, this is a very basic 1.0 release. I guess the idea is that I will manually enter the cards I have in my wallet into this app - take a picture of it, sync the barcode.
(I tried to take a phone screenshot of this entry screen, but was DRM protected from taking a screenshot!)
Here's what it looks like from the Google Play Store Images (covering a bunch of the fields with dropdowns and keyboards.)
What a PITA - who is really going to manually enter the card information from their wallet? Does anyone actually use the physical card for rewards points? (I never do.)
After adding a card or three, I went over to the amazon.com/wallet page. I wanted to see what functionality I could do there. I'd much prefer to input information on my computer than my mobile phone.
At my Amazon.com/walllet it had all my basic payment information (which Amazon has because I've been buying things from them since 1996!) and a section entitled: Merchant Cards - which syncs up with the UI/Information shown in the wallet app. The cards I just entered on my phone immediately synced with the site - which was expected. My Amazon saved payment methods did not show up in the wallet app and are not (as far as I can tell) accessible from it.
My immediate reaction to this 3 minute interaction: BO-RING.
Part of that is because I live in the future. I also have high expectations from Amazon (as part of their reputation currency) - but I'm also human and understand software development and launching innovative products - so I reasonably see this release as a baby step. It's a Google move. The app has basic (unusable to me) functionality - but I can see where it could lead to functionality that would interest me (although it's likely 1-3 years out).
- I imagine Merchant Cards, will read Merchant Currencies in the future. Take a lead from Fidor Bank, Amazon. And then mash that up with Etsy like merchant stores.
- I imagine pushing my payment methods to the phone. And using theses verified/authenticated cards for payments via the mobile app in the real world.
- I imagine integration with my Amazon Payments (which I used for my Kickstarter). This is totally missing (or I missed it).
There's a lot of integration that could occur in the future. And this baby 1.0 release is the first step.
So while I am less than impressed with this release, I see the potential for Amazon Wallet to go in a direction that DOES interest me and is TRULY innovative around money and payments. So I won't stop watching Amazon with my hawk's eye.