Today, Amazon announced the launch of the Amazon Flexible Payments service (or Amazon FPS), which aims to compete with other payments services for developers like PayPal (notably their Developer API) and Google Checkout.
Complementing Amazon’s other web services for developers like S3 for storage and bandwidth and EC2 for computing capacty, Amazon FPS gives developer the complete platform to setup a payments system on their website/service. Their detailed API documentation — which does go into every aspect of the service — can be found here.
In short, the service is an extension or an ‘opening up’ of their previous Amazon Payments service which gave third-party distributors access to receiving payments from the products they sold on Amazon. As opposed to being a general payments system like PayPal for everyone in the world to ‘share money,’ Amazon FPS aims more to already-established websites and services — specifically on the relationship and transaction between the seller and the buyer. The service provides a few advantages over others:
- Existing Amazon customers can pay instantly — without having to enter billing information, credit card number, etc.
- All fees are transaction-based (no setup charges) and relatively very low compared to PayPal and others’. For example, it’s around 2.9% for transactions over $10 through credit card.
- The API offers a lot more options than others, notably PayPal — hence the huge 250-page documentation. Essentially, anything a developer wants to achieve can be done.
Some of the innovation in Amazon’s Web Services department is truly exciting — needless to say it gets better. For developers, they’ve really been building a whole platform from the ground up, and the services are starting to become one of the more deployed options on web. Will FPS prove to follow? Let’s find out.