Amazon has quietly made a change on Wednesday where it rebranded its Gift Card balance as Amazon Pay, which the company is touting as the fastest way to pay. It's essentially the same as gift card balance - and unlike wallets, there are no limits on how much you can transact in a day, and the money stored in your Amazon Pay balance is only valid for one year, post which it will expire - but instead of having to purchase gift cards, you can simply top it up directly on the Amazon website.
The new Amazon Pay balance is handy if you shop a lot on Amazon, and don't want to enter your OTP regularly when shopping - once you've filled up some balance, you can just use that money to complete shopping with a single click. There are some restrictions - you can't buy gift cards, gold coins, or bank cards, on Amazon.in using the Pay balance - but otherwise, you can use it to buy all other items on the website. "We are happy to launch Amazon Pay Balance. All customers have to do is load their balance; a friction-free payment experience awaits them," added Sriram Jagannathan Vice President Payments, Amazon India.
Your remaining gift card balance is automatically transferred to Amazon Pay, and for refunds on cash on delivery items, you have the option of choosing Amazon Pay to receive the money, which Amazon says is much faster than choosing a refund to your bank.
However, you can't transfer money from your Amazon Pay balance to your bank account - this means that the money is effectively locked into Amazon's ecosystem. Amazon plans to incentivise usage of Amazon Pay by giving special offers to use it. You can add up to Rs. 10,000 at one time, though there is no limit on the number of transactions you can make.
Amazon had earlier launched Pay with Amazon in India - it has not linked the two yet, but it would be an interesting way for the company to expand into payments, at a time when other e-commerce companies are investing in areas such as UPI (Flipkart), or have their own wallets (Snapdeal, Paytm).