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Chase Pay On Track; Amazon And Google Talk Technology
May 20, 2016

By Kevin Woodward

JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Chase Pay mobile-payment service, announced in October, is on track for tests this summer with greater availability in the fourth quarter, according to Kim Fitzsimmons, head of global e-commerce and large omnichannel solutions at Chase Commerce Solutions.

A screenshot of the Chase Pay app.

Fitzsimmons, who spoke Monday during a panel discussion at ShopTalk, a retail trade show that took place this week in Las Vegas, says more announcements are to come.

A Chase spokesman tells Digital Transactions News the bank is beginning to sign and phase in merchants now with additional ones to follow. In February, Chase announced Starbucks Corp. would accept the mobile wallet, which would be embedded in the highly successful Starbucks app.

“We are live now with select e-commerce merchants and are planning to launch Starbucks and other partners later this year,” the spokesman said. Some of these online retailers include eBags Inc. and several sites owned by 1-800-Flowers.com.

Chase Pay’s position is in contrast to that of CurrentC, the mobile payment service being developed by Merchant Customer Exchange LLC, a retailer consortium that delayed its national launch and laid of 30 employees earlier this week.

Meanwhile, other members of the panel, which included executives at Amazon Payments and at Google Inc.’s payments business, played up the technology services each company offers merchants. When asked in a room full of retailers why Amazon.com Inc. would provide services to competitors, Patrick Gauthier, vice president at Amazon Payments, responded that Amazon should be considered a technology platform and not so much a retailer. “We have a track record of enabling competitors to use Amazon’s critical assets,” Gauthier said.

Amazon’s goal, Gauthier said, is to enable merchants to gain new customers. Its payment service is a tool to help with that effort. In April, Amazon, in conjunction with apparel retailer Moda Operandi, enabled the first-ever in-store Amazon Payment acceptance, and earlier that month it unveiled the Amazon Payments Partner Program, which targets e-commerce developers and platform providers to help them add a pay or Amazon log-in button to their checkout pages.

Amazon’s premise for offering its payments technology to other retailers stems from its drive to remove consumer pain points, Gauthier said. “When you do that, sometimes you do things that are counter-intuitive,” he said. When it comes to resolving the conversion pain point, it’s not about competing, but what can be accomplished, he said.

“What do we get out of this? The trust of the customer,” Gauthier says. “It’s about engaging with consumers on their own terms.”

Similarly, Spencer Spinnell, director of emerging platforms at Alphabet Inc.’s Google unit, said that while many of Google’s products may appear disruptive to retailers, they actually cater to local merchants. “We’re delivering search-engine results that drive customers to retailers,” Spinnell said.

Google’s Android Pay mobile wallet is another example of providing service to local merchants, he said. An Android Pay digital receipt can contain a link to the merchant’s app. “For us it’s about building platforms that are extensible, which Android Pay is,” Spinnell said.

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