US customers of Amazon have been treated to its latest-and-greatest shopping enablement tool: Amazon Cash. Handy, it says, for those who do not own a bank card, but still have a hankering to shop online on Amazon. All you need is an Amazon account, a barcode and some money burning a hole in your pocket.
Thanks to partnerships with major retail chains across the States, Amazon customers can now walk up to a till, and ask the operator to top-up their Amazon balance by scanning a barcode from your Amazon account. Then, pay in cash get your Amazon balance topped-up.
The partner network covers mostly supermarkets, grocers and chemists, but potentially anywhere there is a strong retail presence, Amazon will be able to set up shop, as it were.
Contrary to buying Steam or Google Play, you needn’t pick up a scratch card from the store. All you need is to get your barcode from your Amazon mobile app (or bring a printout from home), which can then be scanned by the till-person at the moment you pay in. The fee-less system will allow you to put in anything from a (minimum) $15, to a maximum $500 in a single transaction. Contrary to other similar solutions, the top-up is immediately added to your balance, says Amazon.
If you’re particularly paranoid about hackers, of simply want to stay off the grid, it sounds like a good idea that opens Amazon up to a class of user that wants to remain card-less.
Plans to expand the top-up scheme outside the US are yet to be revealed, but given the volatility of electronic payment schemes around the world, it’ll surely be a case-by-case affair.
KitGuru Says: Amazon Cash allows the company to tap into a previously unexplored element of online consumers, as well as create a provision for topping-up other Amazon services. On the other hand, it might also give reason to worry about some shady elements using the system to move money around, without much of a paper trail.