E-commerce giant Amazon is reaching out to underbanked consumers who want to shop online by offering them a way to load value into their Amazon account using cash. Amazon Cash is a service launched this week by the Seattle-based online retailer where account holders can visit a physical retailer that is part of the Amazon Cash network and turn paper money into digital money.
Paying cash for online purchases is a prominent way to pay online in many countries outside the United States. Amazon Cash is reminiscent of a popular online payment method in Japan called Konbini (literally, “convenience store”) where consumers order online and pay at local convenience stores.
In the Amazon version, U.S. consumers will add value to their Amazon account before making any purchases. Amazon will send users a barcode unique to their account they can print or display on their phone. They take the barcode to a participating retailer, present the barcode and pay the cashier the amount they want to add to their account, which is then available for them to use on Amazon.
Amazon said it will be adding more retailers “soon,” but currently, consumers can use cash to add value to their Amazon accounts at supermarkets, drugstores and convenience stores including CVS, D&W Fresh Market, Family Fare, Kum & Go, Sheetz, Speedway and VG’s.
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