Yesterday, Amazon made waves with the announcement of its Amazon Local Register, a secure card reader and mobile app designed to provide businesses with the ability to accept credit and debit cards from a smartphone or tablet. Banks should be paying close attention to all of this, if they are not already. Payments is perhaps the easiest arena for disintermediation, with many technology companies creating payments offerings. While banks will likely never be completely cut out of the payments ecosystem, they do run the risk of being reduced to back-end facilitators of transactions, while the likes of Amazon and others provide the customer-facing services.

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