For years, rumors have circulated that Apple is on the verge of making mobile payments technology a key component of its iPhone and iPad hardware. But with NFC tech yet to make its arrival, clues like PassBook have been all we're left to cling to when asked to present evidence of Apple's long-term interest in mobile payments-related services and solutions.

Although most analysts believe mobile payments will still play a big role in Apple's future, for now we're left speculating and guessing when that day will finally come. For Amazon, however, the fast-emerging mobile rival of Apple's doesn't want to wait much longer to plant its flag in the territory of mobile payments.

Despite an intensely competitive landscape with companies like Square and PayAnywhere owning much of the domestic mobile payments market, Amazon is going to step up to the plate, and soon. "Amazon could be preparing to launch its own mobile credit card reading hardware in the coming weeks," 9to5Mac reports, pointing to internal Staples documents.

We're told that as of August, Staples stores will be carrying something called the “Amazon Card Reader.” If the reports are accurate, the hardware in question will be priced at $9.99 and enable users to accept credit card payments via a small reader that affixes to mobile devices. It isn't yet known, though, if the reader will only be compatible with the new Fire Phone and Amazon tablet line.

Source: 9to5Mac