Amazon launches cash payment option for online orders in the United States

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Amazon is bringing its cash payment option to Amazon.com orders in the United States. If you want to pay with physical money, you can select the PayCode option at checkout. You will receive a QR code, then you will have 24 hours to pay for the goods in a participating Western Union. If you want to refund an item, you can also get your money back from Western Union.

The two companies launched PayCode earlier this year. It’s available in 19 other countries, especially those where it’s more common to pay with cash instead of a debit or credit card. About 80% of Americans live within five miles of one of the 15,000 participating Western Union sites, according to Amazon. PayCode goes live in the United States today and will roll out nationwide in the coming weeks.

“Customers told us they liked the convenience of paying with cash,” Ben Volk, director of payments at Amazon, said in a statement. “Together with Western Union, we are able to provide customers with more purchasing choices, allowing them to pay for their purchases online in a way that is convenient for them.”

With PayCode, Amazon surely hopes to reach potential customers who generally prefer to shop in physical stores. If the customer does not have a smartphone to display the QR code, they can write down a nine-digit reference number or have it sent by text. However, the system may still not be viable for people without photo ID – a requirement when paying for Amazon orders in a Western Union.

The company says 77 percent of US payments were made in person last year, and of those 39 percent were in cash, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Many people don’t have a bank account or credit card, and not everyone is willing to charge a prepaid debit card. Amazon Go grocery stores were supposed to be cashless, but Amazon began to accept physical cash there.

Meanwhile, Amazon Cash is now available in over 100,000 locations in the United States, including Western Union. The service allows people to load money into their Amazon account, giving them another payment option.

Update 9/18/2019 at 4:30 p.m. ET: Clarify that customers will receive a reference number as well as a QR code that they can use to complete the order.

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