Amazon may soon launch a hybrid checking account for younger customers and people without bank accounts

By | March 6, 2018

You probably shop at Amazon for everything: kitchen utensils, office supplies, and if you’re a member of Amazon Prime, household items like bathroom tissue and laundry detergent.

But even with all that control over your online shopping experience, Amazon is still trying to inject itself deeper into the process. Now, it appears that the company is positioning itself to inject itself into the financial side of things as well —potentially lording over your next checking account.

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According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is holding discussions with major banks such as JPMorgan Chase about creating a “hybrid-type checking account” to offer its customers. The story claims the unreleased product would target young customers and people without bank accounts. The product would be intended to help Amazon reduce fees it pays to financial institutions on every transaction and give the company better insights into customers’ income and spending habits.
Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time Amazon ventured into financial tech. The company already offers something called Amazon Cash, which lets customers add cash to a digital wallet and purchase items online with it, similar to the way PayPal operates.
It also makes sense Amazon would work with JPMorgan to release this new kind of checking account. The retail giant already offers an Amazon credit card in partnership with JPMorgan Chase, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Morgan are also partnering to launch and independent healthcare service for employees — so there is precedent for these two massive companies working together to release an experimental product.
The Wall Street Journal warns, however, that this rumored hybrid checking account may never actually see the light of day. It’s still early in the discussion process, and there are few details available about how the account would work. For example, it’s still unclear whether customers would be able to write checks, pay bills directly, or use ATMs to deposit and withdraw cash from the account.
Still, it seems like an obvious next step for Amazon in its never-ending effort to insert itself into more areas of our digital lives and online shopping experience. The company has a well-established history of finding ways to vertically integrate its products. At its best, Amazon controls every part of the online shopping experience. It has deep relationships to the consumer electronics supply chain that enable the company to sell its Amazon Basics products at a steep discount. It also has a strong foothold in the delivery business — the final step in any of its transactions — and plans to continuing expanding its reach to take on the biggest players in the delivery industry, FedEx and UPS.
An Amazon-branded checking account would finally give Amazon a deeper look at the cashflow of all of its customers, and give the company a better sense of exactly how people are budgeting for the purchases they make. Sure, people buy office supplies and household items from Amazon — but they’re increasingly buying other things like clothing and cosmetics.
With a direct view into how people are spending their money, Amazon may finally own the full online shopping experience: The company would have deep insights into your income and expenses, offer the best deals on products you regularly purchase, avoid transaction fees with its new checking account, and, finally, deliver your purchase to your doorstep.
The entire experience would be operated by one big, monolithic company.

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