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Amazon shuts digital wallet

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle — Amazon.com’s Amazon Wallet will never get the chance to make it out of beta. Multiple press reports indicate Amazon is shutting down its beta release of the mobile wallet application, which launched in July 2014.

Amazon began emailing Amazon Wallet users to inform them of the app’s cessation on Jan. 20. Amazon Wallet never allowed storage and use of credit or debit cards, unlike rival mobile wallet applications like Google Wallet and Apple Pay, but did allow users to store and make payments with gift, store and loyalty cards both online and in stores.

Amazon Wallet users will still be able to manage and use existing cards after Amazon shuts down the app Jan. 21, but will not receive any support from Amazon. The app will be removed from all app stores and no longer available for download. Amazon has not specified whether it might relaunch an updated version of Amazon Wallet at some point.

"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 Amazon spokesperson Tom Cook in a statement.

Google Wallet has never really caught on with consumers, while Apple Pay has been downloaded by millions of consumers but is still not widely used. The lack of widespread NFC technology, which is required to accept both Google Wallet and Apple Pay payments, at POS terminals is generally considered part of the reason those services have picked up less traction than hoped.

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