aims to make carrying a physical wallet obsolete with its llet app. By connecting a card or bank account, you can use the app to pay for anything at a retailer that supports Near Field Communication (NFC) payments, just by touching the payment terminal with a smartphone that has an NFC chip.
Yet Amazon is not content to sit by let conquer the burgeoning mobile payment market. st week the company launched Amazon llet Beta. It is available now in ay comes pre-installed on the Amazon Fire one.
I recently took both apps for a spin to gauge their relative strengths weaknesses. To be fair, Amazon is still in Beta llet has been around for a few years. Both apps sport some strong conveniences some weak points.
Amazon llet focuses on gift loyalty cards
Amazon llet hles its current slate of features fairly well. You can add a gift or loyalty card by scanning the barcode or typing in the account number. Taking a picture of both sides of the card also serves as a visual reference gives you a digital copy so you can leave the plastic behind (it almost certainly also adds it to Amazon’s data collection).
en it comes time to redeem the card, Amazon llet creates a QR code or barcode so it can be scanned by the retailer. Its utility is a little hampered by the fact many retailers do not have the ability to scan a QR code, so you may be stuck reading off the numbers anyway.
The other issue in this arrangement is that many stores restaurants now accept your phone number as the method for crediting your loyalty account. ile Amazon llet provides a good way to de-clutter a wallet full of loyalty cards, most stores have already done this for me by allowing me to just give out my mobile number. But having my IKEA card scanned into my Amazon llet helped me recently, as the Swedish furniture king requires an account number.
Made for the Fire one
Amazon llet is, not surprisingly, more deeply integrated into the Fire one. Amazon llet utilizes the “Magic ndow” for scanning bar codes will place frequently used cards in the carousel. so, visiting amazon.com/wallet shows you which cards are entered into the app, including any debit or credit cards stored in Amazon.
l this indicates that mobile payments is likely on Amazon’s mind, if for no other reason than using llet to make on-the-fly Amazon purchases that much easier. If you live much of your digital shopping life in Amazon’s cloud or are contemplating the Fire one, Amazon llet could be a wise choice. The company is very likely to build up its feature set more tightly integrate it with Amazon apps, services, hardware.
llet has large ambitions
As is often the case with a product, the app seeks to be an all-in-one solution. Not only does llet support tap-to-pay functionality, it also shows any saved Offers (the company’s Groupon competitor), payment history, gift/reward cards balances, the ability to send request money from others.
Using llet is a hit–miss experience. Not all retailers support NFC payments, if your store doesn’t, the app is rendered useless. en I recently used llet at mba ice, the payment needed some extra think-time before going through. Other times it has been very rapid, drawing raised eyebrows from other customers who clearly had not seen anyone pay with their phone before.
has sought to remedy the lack of NFC payment options by offering a physical debit card tied to your llet account. It functions as a MasterCard that debits from your llet balance. The downside is that you must first move money into your llet from a linked bank account or debit/credit card prior to using it, or transactions will fail.
’s data power gives it an advantage
ile both Amazon llet llet act as storage for various gift loyalty cards, llet’s solution is currently more powerful. en you add a supported rewards service, ’s servers talk to the account in the cloud can provide real-time account information.
For example, when adding an American Eagle rewards account, Amazon llet took the information stored it in the app, complete with a company icon. However, llet alerted me there was an error in that the information did not match American Eagle’s records. Sure enough, my rewards account had an old address. Once I changed it online, the account took.
llet offers the security edge
Both apps have a security feature where access can be locked with a four-digit N. Amazon’s N will lock users out of specific cards, while llet requires the N just to access the app after 15 minutes (the timeout can be changed to one day or disabled completely).
Neither app has reached the point where you can ditch your wallet. llet shows more promise, even as retail outlets have been slow to embrace NFC. Amazon llet is still in its beta stages, but given Amazon’s tremendous ambitions, look for the app to power up soon.