Amazon Debuts ‘Amazon Cash’ As A Way For The Unbanked To Shop Online

Shopping online can provide savings and convenience, but more than 25% of U.S. households have either no bank account or rely on non-bank products and services to handle their finances. In an attempt to reach those potential customers, Amazon has launched “Amazon Cash.” 

Until now, anyone who wanted to use cash to shop at Amazon could purchase an Amazon gift card at a retail location, but adding money to your account usually meant buying additional gift cards.

Amazon Cash is just a minor tweak to that process. You still have to schlep to a retailer, but rather than buying a gift card that later gets added to your Amazon account, you simply hand over the amount you want added, have the cashier scan a barcode, and the money has been added.

Here’s how it works: Customers go to a participating retailer — such as Kum & Go, CVS, Sheetz, Speedway, and others — show their barcode to a cashier, and tell them how much cash — between $15 and $500 — they want to apply to their account.

Amazon notes that if a customer doesn’t have a smartphone or if the device’s screen is cracked, they can use a “Print-at-Home” option that allows users to print out their barcode and take it to the retailer.

Once the non-refundable transaction is complete, customers will receive an email or notification through the Amazon app that funds have posted to their account.

If a customer does not receive a notification, Amazon says they should first discuss the issue with the retailer they visited. If that does not resolve the problem, they can contact Amazon Customer Service.

According to Amazon Cash’s terms and conditions, funds loaded to customer accounts through the service are subject to the same stipulations as gift cards, which can only be redeemed toward the purchase of eligible goods and services provided by Amazon.com LLC and its affiliates.

Additionally, funds cannot be used to purchase other gift cards, transferred to others, or redeemed for cash.