Did Manufactured Spending Kill Amazon WebPay?

As many of you may have heard (through other blogs, or directly from Amazon themselves), Amazon WebPay is coming to an end in exactly one week from today. What was once viewed as a easy portal for manufactured spending will no longer be available – but are we responsible for killing it?

Using Amazon WebPay to hit those pesky minimum spends and manufacture points isn’t a secret by any means. A quick search of “Amazon Payments” shows a number of bloggers talking about this service as soon as the second page. With all this publicity, certainly the team behind the payment portal was going to get wise to what was going on.

However, it appears that the project was just never meant to take off. Amazon addressed the shutdown on their FAQ page as follows:

We are not addressing a customer pain point particularly better than anyone else. We’ve learned a great deal about how and when customers want to send money and will look for ways to use these lessons in the future.

Amazon Payments was around for four years as a challenger to the PayPal empire, but had a hard time breaking into the mainstream community. What’s worse, Amazon never really invested anything into it – neither time nor manpower. Engadget called Amazon Payments “unpopular,” and are hoping that they will come back with a second offering, such as: “…a more full-fledged mobile wallet service à la Google Wallet or Apple Pay.”

So did the points hoarding community kill Amazon Payments? While I believe it was a contributing factor, the ultimate decision was based on the fact that the service wasn’t getting anywhere for the company. Amazon is known for making rational decisions based on good business. So while we didn’t help it, the points hacking community can’t be blamed for the downfall of Amazon WebPay.

So where do we go from here? Two options include:

  • Venmo allows you to send and receive cash from credit cards through a social platform. However, it won’t be entirely free: the service charges a 3% fee for processing credit cards.
  • The Miles Professor has a step-by-step guide on how to use PayPal & Square to continued manufactured spend activities. Be careful, though: PayPal has always been a touch defensive on how their services are used.

Though we didn’t kill this opportunity, this serves as a good reminder that it’s important to be a good steward to the community. Remember: only you can prevent the end of manufactured spending opportunities.

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