Amazon announced its latest Amazon Cash service that lets users make purchases without using a credit card.
The service is strikingly similar to Paypal's Paypal My Cash card allows users to add funds to their Paypal balance by using cash from their wallet.
Customers can visit one of more than 10,000 participating retailers - like CVS, Speedway, Sheetz, and others - and bring their Amazon Cash barcode, which can be found at amazon.com/cash or on the Amazon Mobile App. With Amazon Cash, you can add money directly into your account, no bank accounts or cards necessary. But it's not a bank account, because the cash can't be pulled out, only used to buy goods or services from Amazon.
Customers can add between $15 and $500 in a single Amazon Cash transaction; daily limits vary by retailer.
It might seem insane to think that there are people still living without debit cards and bank accounts, but it's estimated that 7 percent of households in the United States are actually "unbanked", according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's 2015 National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households.
Amazon just made it easier for cash-only customers to use its marketplace. The system allows shoppers to print out a barcode - or display it on the screen of their iOS or Android phone - and make a payment in brick-and-mortar stores. The process seems like a chore, but it's a better alternative to constantly buying gift cards in order to shop online.
Money added via Amazon Cash is available as soon as you checkout at the register - you'll be alerted with an email, text, and push notification.
Additionally, funds can not be used to purchase other gift cards, transferred to others, or redeemed for cash. If that does not resolve the problem, they can contact Amazon Customer Service.
How big of a difference maker the service will be remains to be seen, but considering the sheer size of the opportunity, Amazon would be remiss not to try.