Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is in talks with several leading banks to offer a "checking-account-like" product for customers, according to The Wall Street Journal. The move makes sense: A recent survey by LendEDU found that almost half of its 1,000 respondents were "open to the idea of using an an account created by Amazon as a primary bank account."
Additionally, 50% of respondents were "open to the idea of using a savings account created by Amazon." Over half of Amazon Prime members (52% for primary banking and 58% for savings) were open to letting Amazon handle their accounts, indicating that Prime members trust Amazon more than non-members.
Amazon wouldn't be the first megaretailer to expand into banking. Walmart (NYSE: WMT) offers banking services in Canada and Mexico, and has U.S. checking accounts via a partnership with Green Dot Bank. U.S. regulators thwarted Walmart's attempts to become a full bank, but that could change in the future.
Amazon's Chinese rival, Alibaba, also offers online banking, loans, and mobile payments through its affiliate Ant Financial.
Launching checking accounts could tighten Amazon's grip on its consumers -- and possibly disrupt the banking industry.
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