PayCode, which is already available in 19 countries, allows U.S. shoppers to pay in cash at one of the roughly 15,000 Western Union offices in the United States.
A consumer who selects the PayCode option at checkout has 24 hours to pay in cash at a Western Union. Once she has paid, Amazon will ship her purchase.
“Customers have told us they love the convenience of paying in cash,” says Ben Volk, director, payments at Amazon. “Together with Western Union, we’re able to offer customers more shopping choices, enabling them to pay for their online purchases in a way that is convenient for them.”
The PayCode launch is one piece in a multipronged Amazon strategy to appeal to U.S. households that do not have a bank account. 6.5% of U.S. households do not have a bank account, according to a 2017 Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. survey that was released last year. While that share was down from a half a percentage point from the previous year, it still accounts for roughly 8.4 million U.S. households.
In addition to PayCode, the retail giant also offers a program it calls Amazon Cash that lets customers load between $5 and $500 in cash to their Amazon Balance at more than 100,000 cash-loading locations across the United States, including 7-Eleven and CVS stores. A consumer starts the process by verifying his mobile phone number and identifying a participating location at amazon.com/amazoncash. When the consumer arrives at the location, he can add cash to his account by presenting his mobile phone number. The funds are available immediately, and there are no additional fees.
Amazon in recent years also has sought to expand its reach to consumers who receive government assistance. In 2017 it launched a discounted membership to its Prime loyalty program for consumers who have a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. Consumers with an EBT card can pay $5.99 a month for Prime, which is less than half the $12.99 a month charge the retailer charges other shoppers who are billed monthly.
Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2019 Top 1000.