Amazon launches Square-like Local Register card reader for all platforms

Online retailer Amazon has introduced a mobile card reader called Local Register, essentially pitting itself against the likes of Square.

Local Register enables you to swipe credit and debit cards using your mobile device equipped with Amazon's physical card reader and a mobile app. The new hardware service, which has launched a month after Amazon introduced its mobile wallet app, is available now with free two-day shipping on Amazon.com. It will also be available in Staples stores, starting next week. Local Register looks like a black, plastic rectangle with an 3.5mm audio jack and embedded Amazon logo.

Although the card reader costs $10, Amazon highlighted that your first $10 in transaction fees will be credited back to your account. Just make sure you sign up for Local Register before 31 October in order to receive a promotional rate of 1.75 per cent per card swipe until 1 January 2016. After then, all new Local Register sign-ups will have to pay 2.5 per cent on every transaction. Both Square and Paypal charge a similar fee per transaction.

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It's worth noting that Local Register is just the latest hardware effort from Amazon. In the last year alone, the company has launched a set-top box and a smartphone. Amazon is even testing a wand of sorts called Amazon Dash that lets you scan and shop from home. Plus, the company offers a line of Kindle ereader tablets.

You can download Local Register's mobile app - which notably includes "at-a-glance insights" that'll help businesses understand customer spending - from the Amazon Appstore, Apple App Store, and Google Play.