Amazon introduces honour-based payment system

Amazon.com Inc. extended its 1-Click shopping system on Tuesday to enable users to make payments of US$1 or more to other sites on an honour basis, for the use of premium content or simply to express their support.

The Amazon honour System lets users registered for Amazon's 1-Click shopping system charge payments to their credit card by clicking on a button at participating Web sites. They also have the option to change their mind and take back a payment within 30 days of the transaction. Some 29 million users have registered their credit card details to use the 1-Click payment system, according to Amazon.

Although Amazon knows the user's identity, no information about the user is passed on to the site receiving the payment, Amazon said in a statement.

More than 50 Web sites are using the system to take payments already, Amazon said, including sites collecting payment for premium content including humor, poetry, and assistance with math.

The SETI Institute, which monitors radio signals from space in a search for extraterrestrial intelligence, is using the system to collect donations to fund its work. At the time of writing, it had collected $180 from 14 transactions, with a suggested donation of $10.

While sites such as SETI benefit from a simple system for taking payments, the interest for Amazon is the commission it takes: 15 percent of the payment, plus $0.15. For a typical $10 transaction, Amazon's cut is $1.65, or $0.30 on a $1 payment -- a cut which may startle surfers using the system to make charitable donations.

Amazon.com, in Seattle, Washington, can be reached at +1-206-266-1000, or on the Web at http://www.amazon.com/. SETI Institute, in Mountain View, California, can be reached at +1-650-961-6633 or at http://www.seti.org/.

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