Amazon.com has just announced a new checkout system called "PayPhrase" which speeds up the process of making online purchases by allowing shoppers to enter a unique phrase and 4-digit PIN number to complete their transaction. Both the phrase and PIN are created in advance and are linked to a shipping address and preferred method of payment. After the initial set up, PayPhrase users are no longer required to sign in or fill out credit card information when shopping online.Online retailer
Why PayPhrase Beats 1-Click
Amazon already has a similar speedy checkout system known as "1-Click." When activated, customers can associate payment methods with a frequently used shipping address, such as a home address, to quickly complete purchases without having to fill out their name, address, and credit card details.
Although not designed to replace 1-Click, the new PayPhrase system is even easier to use and more flexible. Using this system, shoppers don't have to be signed in to the site with an Amazon account as is necessary with 1-Click. That saves an extra step and could lead to more impulse buys as there's no "cooling down" time, however brief, between seeing something you want to purchase and then finalizing the transaction.
The PayPhrase system also allows for the creation of multiple PayPhrases and PINs so you can associate different addresses and methods of payment with each other. For example, you could additionally have a corporate credit card tied to your office address or a pre-paid credit card your children use tied to your home address. 1-Click checkout, on the other hand, only allows for the combination of one address and one method of payment.
The PayPhrase technology will go live across all of Amazon.com as well as on several third-party sites that use "Checkout by Amazon," a service that lets other retailers checkout customers by using their personal and payment information saved on Amazon's servers. At this time, DKNY, Jockey, Patagonia, Buy.com, J&R, and Car-Toys have announced they will add the PayPhrase system on their sites, too.
Is PayPhrase the Future of Mobile Transactions?
Clearly, the new PayPhrase technology has been designed to make online checkout easier, but could there be more to it than that? Earlier this month, the company launched a mobile payments service which allows mobile application developers to integrate Amazon's checkout system into their mobile software and mobile websites. The mobile payments system also allows for the integration of the 1-Click checkout process, so there's no reason to doubt that the PayPhrase technology will now also be added to the payments platform as well.
With PayPhrase, the process of making an online purchase takes far less steps than any other checkout system today. Even PayPal forces you to sign in, choose payment methods, and complete your transaction before being redirected back to the retailer's website. While a few extra steps aren't a big deal on the web, when you're on a mobile phone, every delay makes it that much harder thanks to slower internet connection speeds, tiny keyboards, and, more often than not, a lack of time to get involved in any long process. If you can't checkout in a minute or so, it's generally not even worth bothering until you're back at home on your broadband-connected PC. But with PayPhrase, you can checkout incredibly fast - only two steps are required: one to enter your special phrase and another to enter your PIN. Although Amazon hasn't made any formal announcements about integrating PayPhrase into their mobile platform just yet, they must have had it in mind when they designed this technology.