Amazon is launching a new service today called Amazon Cash, which is meant to make it easier than ever for customers who don’t have credit, debit, or bank cards to still be able to shop on the popular internet retailer, as noted by TechCrunch.
The new service allows for customers to simply display a barcode at a participating retailer and deposit cash directly to their Amazon account. It’s a slightly more streamlined process than before: previously, anyone wanting to use Amazon without a bank card was forced to buy gift cards or prepaid debit cards.
The barcode for Amazon Cash can be generated by visiting the Amazon Cash site, and it can be accessed through Amazon’s website, the mobile app, or saved to things like the Android home screen or the iOS Wallet for easy access. Customers without access to smartphones can also print out the barcode and bring to stores in person to directly deposit funds.
Amazon Cash will be available at a variety of major retailers, including CVS Pharmacy, Speedway, Sheetz, Kum & Go, D&W Fresh Market, Family Fare Supermarkets, and VG's Grocery (with more retailers said to be on the way). Customers can deposit money in amounts between $15 and $500 dollars, whereupon it will be accessible as credit on Amazon, just like a gift card.
It’s an important move on Amazon’s part to better appeal to customers that don’t have access to bank or credit cards, which — per a 2015 FDIC report — comprise almost 7 percent of the country, (along with an additional 24 percent that are considered “underbanked”). It’s also yet another service that puts Amazon in contention with competitors like Walmart and PayPal, which both offer similar services for unbanked customers.