Amazon Pay Review: Fees, Features, Alternatives

Amazon Pay works best for U.S.-based online-only businesses, but watch out for the reserve policies.
Oct 21, 2021

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Amazon Pay is an online payment solution that allows customers to make purchases using their Amazon account information on e-commerce sites. It integrates with popular e-commerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento and more to help streamline the checkout process.

The solution is best for online-only businesses that don’t need volume discounts or custom plans. If you need support for a wider range of payment methods or for in-person transactions, consider competitors like Square, Stripe or PayPal or find a dedicated point-of-sale system.

Pros

Cons

  • Easy and trustworthy for customers who already have an Amazon account.

  • Supports global customers and currencies.

  • No setup or monthly fees; pay only per transaction.

  • Customers can place and track orders using Alexa voice integration.

  • Reserve policy delays payouts, especially for newer accounts.

  • No in-person payment support.

  • No volume discounts or custom packages.

Deciding factors

Processing rates

Online and mobile payments: 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction. Alexa voice payments: 4% plus 30 cents per transaction.

Accepted payment methods

Credit and debit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, Diners Club and JCB).

Compatibility

Amazon Pay integrates with e-commerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce and BigCommerce. It is not compatible with some of NerdWallet’s favorite e-commerce website builders like Square Online, Squarespace and Wix.

Contract length

No set contract length; you pay per transaction.

Payout timing

Funds usually take 3-5 business days to appear in bank accounts. Those held “in reserve” may take longer.

Customer support

Email, phone and live chat support.

How does Amazon Pay work?

For merchants

To add Amazon Pay to your website, you’ll need to have an Amazon Seller account and embed a plug-in or code on your e-commerce platform. The solution offers links to setup materials for more than 20 partner e-commerce platforms.

In general, follow these steps to get started:

  1. Establish an Amazon Seller account. You’ll need to provide your name, address, ID and required bank, credit card and tax information.

  2. Select and configure Amazon Pay as a payment system in your e-commerce platform’s settings.

  3. Agree to payment and security policies from both Amazon Pay and your e-commerce platform.

  4. Enter credentials and configure settings so that your e-commerce site can talk to Amazon Pay.

  5. Add the Amazon Pay button to your checkout process with a plug-in or custom code.

  6. Test the payment process to make sure everything is working correctly before you accept real payments.

Amazon Pay processes payouts daily, but it will take three to five days for funds to show up in your bank account. There's also a one-time three-day payment hold before disbursement following a change in bank account information.

Some of your payments may also be subject to Amazon Pay’s reserve policy. For new sellers, the payment service reserves all payments for seven days after the transaction. After using the platform for at least six months, you're eligible for a less-restrictive “reserve tier.”

For customers

When customers check out, they can use the Amazon Pay button to securely populate address and payment information from an Amazon account. You can also build and offer an Alexa skill to start accepting Amazon Pay voice orders from customers with Alexa devices.

Here's an Amazon-created tutorial about how to register for an Amazon Pay merchant account, which may provide a helpful look at the interface and process.

What does Amazon Pay cost?

Amazon Pay charges per transaction in the U.S. There are no setup fees, monthly fees, annual fees, termination fees or hardware items to purchase.

  • Online and mobile payments: 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction.

  • Alexa voice payments: 4% plus 30 cents per transaction.

  • For charitable organizations: 2.2% plus 30 cents per transaction.

Fees for charitable organizations are slightly lower: 2.2% plus 30 cents per transaction. Cross-border payments made with cards that are issued outside of the U.S. incur an extra 1% fee. If you process a refund, Amazon Pay refunds you your percentage-based transaction fee, but keeps the 30-cent authorization fee. It charges $20 (plus tax) if you dispute a chargeback claim.

Benefits

Amazon's brand is trusted.

Amazon is the world's most valuable brand, according to brand consulting company Kantar's BrandZ rankings. Most of your customers will recognize and trust the Amazon name, which could increase conversions.

Amazon Prime has over 200 million members globally.

Many of your customers will already have an Amazon account, so they can check out in fewer steps.

Amazon handles secure payments and disputes.

Customers can be confident that their payment details are secure and any issues with their purchase will be resolved through the Amazon Pay A-to-z Guarantee, which provides refunds in cases where packages are late, damaged or not delivered.

Integration can be quick and easy.

Many e-commerce platforms, such as BigCommerce, Magento and Shopify, have out-of-the-box plug-ins to get Amazon Pay working in just a few clicks.

Drawbacks

Reserve policies can delay payouts.

For new users, Amazon reserves 100% of funds for seven days to handle disputed transactions. Sellers can graduate to a less-restrictive “reserve tier” by completing at least 100 orders and maintaining an order defect rate below 1%. The order defect rate is calculated over the course of a 60-day period and includes the percentage of orders that had negative feedback, had A-to-z Guarantee claims (refunds) and credit card chargebacks.

For those without Amazon Seller accounts, sign-up can take a while.

If you already have an account, this isn't an issue. But if you don't, getting set up will be more time-consuming.

Some e-commerce platforms are not integration partners.

Amazon Pay does not partner with some major e-commerce platforms that offer their own competing payment services, such as Squarespace, Square Online and Wix.

Processing fees can add up if you sell at high volumes.

Amazon Pay doesn't offer volume discounts. If you sell at high volumes with relatively low margins, you might be better served by a competitor like Stripe that offers volume-based pricing.

Accept payments without worry
See our payment provider recommendations that fit your business.

Amazon Pay Alternatives

Authorize.Net

Pricing: 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction and $25 per month for the All-in-one plan; 10 cents per transaction plus 10 cents per day (batch fee) and $25 per month for the Payment gateway only plan. 

Overview: Authorize.Net offers both an all-in-one plan similar to Amazon Pay and a "payment gateway only" plan, which provides you with a portal for accepting payments online. Additionally, it allows you to use a separate vendor for your merchant account, a special business bank account used to access funds from credit and debit payments. The solution offers specialized services for larger businesses that process more than $500,000 per year.

Stripe

Pricing: 2.9% plus 30 cents per online transaction; 2.7% plus 5 cents per in-person transaction.

Overview: Stripe is an all-in-one payment processing system that supports a wide range of global payment methods for both online and in-person payments. One of its biggest selling points is its huge range of customization options, which offer a lot of flexibility to set up your checkout process exactly the way you want it, as long as you have the technical know-how to make it work.

Stripe's per-transaction fees for online credit and debit card payments are the same as Amazon Pay. It also offers digital wallet payment options like Apple Pay and Google Pay, along with ACH, in-person payments through Stripe Terminal and several “buy now, pay later” options. The platform has customized pricing packages "for businesses with large payments volume or unique business models," according to the website.

Stripe

Stripe
Shop Now

on Stripe's website

PayPal

Pricing: 3.49% plus 49 cents per PayPal Checkout transaction; 2.29% plus 9 cents per in-person transaction with PayPal Zettle.

Overview: PayPal has product offerings for just about any kind of payment you might want to accept, including some that Amazon Pay does not support. For example, PayPal supports Venmo (a PayPal subsidiary), its Zettle point-of-sale system and QR codes. PayPal also offers easy integration with a lot of e-commerce platforms. If you use a platform that Amazon Pay does not support, like Squarespace, Wix or Square Online, it could be worth looking into PayPal payment integration instead.

If you're only looking to accept online payments, though, Amazon Pay might offer a better deal since it carries lower per-transaction fees than PayPal Checkout.