What is Amazon Coins? No matter your personal preference, there’s no denying that money has gone increasingly digital in the past decade. If you’re an avid gamer or you make a lot of in-app purchases, you may have heard of Amazon Coins, which are yet another form of digital currency to choose from. Here’s everything you’ll need to know if you’re interested in purchasing and using them.
What is Amazon Coins?
Amazon Coins are a digital currency that you can use to pay for things like games and apps on the site.
They are worth one US cent per coin, so 100 Coins is equivalent to $1, and they do not expire. However, if you’re willing to buy the Coins in bulk, you can get a deal on the price and thereby get a discount when using them for purchases. For example, you can purchase 5,000 Coins (a $50 value) for $42.50.
You can buy Amazon Coins through your Amazon account. For example, you can buy them via the Amazon appstore by going to the “Coins” tab.
Amazon Coins: they’re for app makers!
There’s one group that Amazon is clearly targeting with this move: app developers. Amazon Coins won’t be available until May, but the company announced the initiative today in order to ensure that developers have time to get apps ready for the day that Coins rain upon the land.
And they will rain — Amazon has announced it will be giving away “tens of millions” of these Coins, which are each worth one cent, when the program officially starts. That means an injection of hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Kindle Fire ecosystem, 70 percent of which will go to developers.
It’s common knowledge that it’s much tougher to make money on Android apps than iPhone apps. Amazon is trying to promote the Kindle Fire as the exception to the rule. “Developers continue to report higher conversion rates on Amazon compared to other platforms,” said Paul Ryder, Amazon’s vice president of apps and games, said in a press release.
Amazon has been promoting the idea that its platform is a moneymaker for a while. By encouraging developers to support Coins, Amazon is taking another tack. If developers invest time into making an app that dispenses Coins, they’ll be more committed to the platform. However, Amazon says developers won’t have to do anything extra in order to accept Coins for app and in-app purchases.
Kevin Galligan, an organizer of the 969-member New York Android Developers Meetup and president of Touch Lab, an Android development agency, said his reaction to the Coins announcement was mixed. “Anything that’s going to help Android monetize anything at all is good,” he said. “But how do you get Coins? They don’t go into that. If you have to buy Coins, then I don’t understand what’s the difference between that and money.”
Among developers, the general sentiment toward Amazon is “a little wary,” he said. Kindle Fire apps do tend to bring in more money than apps for other Android tablets or phones, he said, since Amazon already has credit card information for many of its users.
Mike Novak, another organizer of the New York Android Developers Meetup, just had an app update rejected by Amazon and decided the whole process wasn’t worth it. He thinks Amazon’s move with Coins could be smart and makes sense for games, which frequently use in-game currencies. But for other applications, “I am not sure I see any added value, especially with the various actual money options there are,” he said in an email.
Amazon Coins: they’re for customers!
Amazon’s Kindle Fire users will also supposedly benefit from Amazon’s expected spring Coin dump, although the company declined to elaborate on who will get the Coins and how many. “We will be announcing additional details when Coins launches in May,” a representative said in an email.
She did elaborate a bit, though: “Amazon Coins are an easy way for customers to purchase apps, games and in-app items. And customers have the option – those who prefer to use traditional forms of currency can continue to do so.”
It’s unclear what about Amazon Coins will make it easier for customers to purchase anything from Amazon. From here, it seems like adding a new currency would mostly make things harder for customers, who may end up succumbing to the pitfalls that surround gift cards: lost money, locked up in Amazon Coins, which cannot be converted back to dollars. Customers can’t use them to buy subscriptions, either.
Developers can award Coins within their own apps, the rep said, so this is one potential perk for customers. It’s also almost certain that Amazon will use Coins in promotions, rewarding users with extra Coins to spend in exchange for a tweet or a Facebook like.
The situation is reminiscent of when Amazon shoehorned its store onto Android phones even when Google’s Android Market was already there by giving away a free app per day. The same may work for Coins: they’re a bit redundant, but the incentives may make it worthwhile.
Pricing: How much are Amazon Coins worth?
Amazon Coins have a price set by the company itself. Currently each coin is equivalent to $0,01.
They can be purchased in packs with the following prices:
- 300 coins cost $2,91 ($0,0097 per coin).
- 500 coins cost $4,75 ($0,0095 per coin)
- 1.000 coins cost $9,0 ($0,009 per coin)
- 2.500 coins cost $21,75 ($0,0087 per coin)
- 5.000 coins cost $42,50 ($0,0085 per coin)
- 10.000 coins cost $82,00 ($0,0082 per coin)
- 50.000 coins cost $400,00 ($0,008 per coin)
Basically, the more coins you buy the more you save, although as you can see, the difference is not very significant. The good thing is that each Amazon Coin ($0,0097) is equivalent to $0,01 to spend on certain Amazon products.
Where can I buy Amazon Coins?
Amazon Coins can be purchased in bundles through:
- The Amazon Appstore app for Android (not available for iOS).
- Fire tablets.
- The Amazon website by clicking on this link.
They can also be purchased on a Fire TV, through the games without needing an acceptance message or verification. So be careful if you have this device and leave it in the hands of young children. Remember to apply parental controls or add a password to purchases through the Amazon store.
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