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Amazon has launched its Amazon PayCode service in the U.S. This service is targeted at a large number of people, who struggle with access to financial services, or who would simply prefer cash payments.
Easily the largest e-commerce platform in the world, Amazon has decided to give its customers a new cash-focused way to pay for their online shopping even as the world moves into cashless transactions. According to an official press release, Amazon PayCode will now be available to residents in the US who will be able to pay for already-made orders on Amazon.com, at one of many physical Western Union branches nationwide.
The partnership between Amazon and Western Union kicked off a few months ago in February and was initially only available in 10 countries including Thailand, Columbia, Indonesia, Chile, Hong Kong, Kenya, Malaysia, the Philippines, Peru, and Taiwan. Shortly after its launch, about 8 more locations including Tanzania, Uruguay, Palau, Mauritius, Barbados, the Federated States of Micronesia, Costa Rica and Kazakhstan, also began to enjoy Amazon PayCode..
How It Works
When a customer wants to make a purchase on Amazon and they’re done selecting all the items they would need, Amazon offers a PayCode option at checkout. When this option is selected, the buyer is then supplied with a QR code which they can then take to any Western Union branch, scan the code and then make the payments.
Since it began, Amazon only gave a maximum time of 48 hours after the purchase to find a Western Union and make the payment. However, for U.S. customers, Amazon is only allowing 24 hours because delivery within the country is a lot more efficient and quick than doing the same internationally.
Amazon also claims that the implementation of Amazon PayCode should be very seamless and straightforward because about 80% of all U.S. residents stay within a 5-mile radius of one of the 15,000 available Western Union branches.
People Want Cash Payments
According to Amazon director of payments, Ben Volk, the service was created because many users still prefer cash. Volk said:
“Customers have told us they love the convenience of paying in cash. 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.”
This corroborates a study from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation which states that as recently as 2017, about 8.4 million homes were entirely unbanked with another 24.2 million grossly underbanked.
Furthermore, Amazon has said that the service will also be available to customers who do not have a smartphone with which they can display the QR code at the Western Union location. Said customers have the option of noting the reference number or having it sent to their mobile phones SMS. The Western Union branches would however always require photo ID from all customers, before any payment is made.
In furtherance of its cash policy, the e-commerce giant also said that a service which allows customers to physically load cash into their Amazon accounts, called Amazon cash, is now available in more than 10,000 locations across the country,
Both Amazon Cash and PayCode are impressive efforts by the company to reach a seemingly large population of people all over the world, who for one reason or another, do not have access to financial institutions.
Western Union’s Consumer Money Transfer President, Khalid Fellahi, has suggested that a move like this is necessary as cash payments will still be used for a long time.
“We’re embracing the complexity of a world where cash and digital payments are likely to co-exist far into the future. We are providing easy solutions for customers who want access to the convenience of online shopping but prefer to pay in person.”
A few weeks ago, data and analytics firm, Cindicator, revealed that Amazon is the most likely firm to float its own digital currency, to possible rival Facebook’s Libra. Amazon, however, has no plans to go down that route.
Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) has increased by 1.18% in the last month and is projected to see a drop in its earnings per share, down more than 23% from the same period last year, to $4.42. At this time, AMZN is fluctuating between $1,823 and $1,82711.