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Amazon.com has launched a virtual store card, just in time for the US holiday shopping season (which kicks off Veterans Day, 11 November). And just like real store cards, the rates are fairly unattractive: the APR is 22.9 per cent, while the default rate is 26.9 per cent.

The Amazon Credit Account is backed by Citibank Cards, and it enables the iconic e-tailer to offer US customers buy now, pay later deals, while gouging out some profit on the financing. Smart move, especially as Amazon US these days is flogging some pretty big ticket items, such as computers.

By offering credit on its account, Amazon can also take a position on customers hitherto denied access - effectively - to its store because they are considered by other finance suppliers to be too poor or have messed up too often to own credit cards.

Amazon is offering an introductory offer of no payments for 90 days. The deal ends 31 December. ®

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