Amazon is spending $5.7 billion on gift cards, and it’s all coming in the form of a sephorie gift card, according to a new report from The Wall St. Journal.
The Amazon gift card is an investment that the company is taking into account as it seeks to become the second-largest retailer in the U.S. By the end of 2020, Amazon’s annual sales are projected to hit $9.6 trillion, according the report.
Amazon will spend $5 billion of that on gift card sales this year, and that will account for a little more than half of the company’s revenue, the report said.
The company plans to sell about 3.5 million gift cards in 2020.
Amazon has been experimenting with sephoric gift cards for years, and its new purchase of a billion-dollar card could be a step toward more widely-available and secure payments.
But there’s still plenty of work to be done.
For one thing, the Amazon card is only good for a year, so you’ll have to pay the annual fee for that period, which could be costly for some.
Also, there’s the issue of fraud.
The card is not backed by a company, and the company has not publicly acknowledged the risk of counterfeiters using it to buy stolen goods, The Wall’s John Bresnahan reported in December.
Amazon hasn’t disclosed how many gift cards it has sold in the past, but the company did report in March that it sold more than 9.5 billion gift cards worldwide in the first quarter of 2020.
But that’s not much, compared with Amazon’s total annual revenue of more than $40 billion.
For now, Amazon is sticking with its $2.99 per transaction card, which is only valid for purchases in the United States, and a $10 annual fee.
It also has an Amazon Prime membership plan that lets customers pay with the card for free.
But it’s unclear if the company will offer other forms of payment, like an online wallet.
In December, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos promised a new gift card that would be backed by Amazon’s vast e-commerce operations.
Bezos said the card would be “the next step in creating an Amazon gift cards product” that would offer a more secure and convenient payment option.
Bezos has promised a $50 gift card with Amazon Prime that would allow customers to pay with their Amazon gift-card at select retailers, like Target, Walmart and Walmart Supercenters.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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