In an effort to bolster its global reach, Amazon is embarking on yet another ambitious payment program that is sure to send their competitors scrambling to protect their own turfs. It recently launched its Amazon Payments Partner Program to extend the trust and familiarity of Amazon Payments to third-party e-commerce merchants.

When Amazon relaunched its payments business in 2013, it allowed Amazon customers to pay for their online purchases with their Amazon account on other websites. The April 4 launch offers merchant partners a payment solution that can be integrated with their online stores across three continents.

"We are working together across geographies and industries to help merchants grow and create experiences that delight customers throughout the shopping journey." Patrick Gauthier, Amazon Payments vice president said.

Participating merchants will be qualified to receive exclusive white-glove services such as seamless integration and knowledge-sharing. Participation is free and initially available by invitation in the U.S., UK, Germany and Japan.

The Amazon Payments Partner Program includes three distinct levels: Premier Partner, Certified Partner and Certified Developer. They come with different levels of management, planning, technical and training support depending on merchant needs and usage.

Should PayPal Worry?

PayPal still dwarfs Amazon Payments, having the widest reach among all the online payment options. It has the capability to process transactions in 24 different currencies, support 300 types of shopping carts, accept debit and credit cards and process payments from bank accounts. PayPal can also take comfort in what skeptical merchants claim that Amazon is a potential competitor, itself being a retail giant.

However, being Amazon Payments' biggest competitor, PayPal needs to flex its innovative muscles to counter any impact the new Amazon offering may create. It has to contend with Amazon's 244 million active users versus its 110 million registered users. With its recent acquisition of Braintree, PayPal needs to act quickly on consolidation with the acquired company to further solidify its position in the online payments market.

Beyond Amazon Payments, there are competitive online payment options that customers can choose from. But the Amazon Payments Partner Program for merchants is a steroid shot for Pay With Amazon and an attempt for Amazon to attract more merchants looking for a viable alternative.

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