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Amazon scraps mobile wallet

Amazon has stopped its mobile wallet beta only six months after it launched the app which enabled users to store and manage gift and loyalty cards

Amazon has stopped its mobile wallet beta only six months after it launched the app which enabled users to store and manage gift, store and loyalty cards.

The e-commerce giant said developing the Amazon Wallet app has been a good learning experience.

"We have learned a great deal from the introduction of the wallet and will look for ways to apply these lessons in the future as we continue to innovate on behalf of our customers," said an Amazon spokesman.

The mobile wallet space is seeing a lot of activity, with the launch of Apple Pay in the US in October 2014 a recent example. The system allows iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users to pay for goods and services using a combination of the mobile wallet and fingerprint authentication.

Google is said to be in talks to acquire Softcard, which is a mobile wallet owned by mobile network operators AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in the US. 

Non-bank firms, including large IT companies such as Amazon, are attempting to get involved in the financial services sector. 

Early success for Apple Pay in the US saw the mobile wallet responsible for 1% of digital payments in the US in November 2014, according to the ITG Mobile Payments report.

Google has had less success, however. Despite being established with a 2011 launch, Google Wallet only accounted for 4% of payments in November 2014, according to the ITG report.

Technology firms are unlikely to get into the business of creating current accounts, savings accounts and offering other services that banks offer, but peripheral services such as payments and information enrichment could be profitable additions to portfolios. 

Technology companies have huge customer bases and are trusted with personal details. 

A simple web search reveals the scale of customer bases of banks and their challengers. PayPal has 157 million active users, which is more than most banks, while Facebook has more than a billion users and holds a lot of sensitive data. Meanwhile, Amazon boasts more than 244 million users.

In comparison, Lloyds Bank has 30 million customers, HSBC has 52 million customers and Barclays has 48 million customers.

Read more on IT for financial services

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