Nov 21, 2018

Amazon's latest gambit: Owning mobile payments

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The everything store really does seem to want to do everything, as Amazon is reportedly working to position Amazon Pay as an alternative for credit card swiping in U.S. stores, the WSJ reports.

Between the lines: "U.S. consumers have been slow to adopt digital wallets, which were responsible for less than 1% of all U.S. card transactions last year... Amazon executives want to gobble up the U.S. market while the competition remains fairly minimal," the Journal notes.

The details: "Amazon is offering incentives such as lower payment-processing fees or marketing services to entice merchants to accept its digital wallet... Amazon also is working to make Alexa, its virtual assistant, an in-store payments platform, people familiar with the matter said."

Be smart: There’s a consumer data windfall waiting for the U.S. tech giant that can push Americans toward mobile payments, Axios' Erica Pandey notes.

  • The rise of mobile payments in China has enabled two tech behemoths, Alibaba and Tencent, to become ubiquitous in people’s daily lives — and collect information about every movement and purchase.

Go deeper

Grassley to hold up pair of nominations until Trump explains IG firings

Grassley questions Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on June 3 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said on Thursday that he will block the confirmation of two of President Trump's nominees until the White House provides "adequate explanations" for why the inspectors general for the intelligence community and State Department were ousted in the past two months.

Why it matters: It's a rare attempt by a Republican to hold Trump accountable for his recent purge of federal watchdogs. Grassley has long considered himself a defender of inspectors general.

John Kelly defends James Mattis against Trump attacks

John Kelly in the White House in July 2017. Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly defended James Mattis on Thursday after President Trump attacked the former defense secretary as "the world's most overrated general" and claimed on Twitter that he was fired.

What he's saying: “The president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation,” Kelly told the Washington Post in an interview. “The president has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused."

Barr claims "no correlation" between removing protesters and Trump's church photo op

Attorney General Bill Barr said at a press conference Thursday that there was "no correlation" between his decision to order police to forcibly remove protesters from Lafayette Park and President Trump's subsequent visit to St. John's Episcopal Church earlier this week.

Driving the news: Barr was asked to respond to comments from Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who said Tuesday that he "did not know a photo op was happening" and that he does everything he can to "try and stay out of situations that may appear political."