Amazon targets unbanked with new cash option

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The new service comes as an alternative to purchasing gift cards and essentially allows anyone to apply cash toward their Amazon account, through hundreds of participating brick-and-mortar retailers across the U.S. Instead, this option will enable users to add hard cash to their Amazon account by showing a barcode to the cashier at participating physical - convenience, grocery, and drug - stores. Participating retailers include CVS, Speedway, Sheetz, D&W Fresh Market, Family Fare Supermarkets, and others with Amazon promising on Cash's frequently asked questions page that "more are coming soon". CVS Pharmacy is also a payment partner for PayPal's offline payments program, PayPal My Cash Card.

The cash is then credited immediately to users' online Amazon account. Then you can choose to print the barcode just in case you want to carry it around in your pocket or wallet.

With everything cleared up, what do you think of Amazon's new offering?

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's 2015 national survey, some 9 million USA households are unbanked, with no checking, savings, money market, or credit account. It simplifies the process for such individuals by adding money to the account balance for free - without any sort of fee charged from users.

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According to commentators, people underserved by banks looked to be gaining more attention from the tech industry, as companies sought opportunities to grow their audiences. The cashier need only scan your barcode and the appropriate amount will be added to your Amazon account via a Gift Card.

You no longer need a credit or debit card to shop on Amazon. Additionally, the same service could help Amazon bring in more lower-income customers, after it's successfully convinced wealthier customers to shop there. This isn't a small number of people either, with TechCrunch suggesting that up to 27 percent of consumers are "cash customers" or, to put it another way, "unbanked".

It seems that Amazon is trying to penetrate deeper into the USA e-commerce space.

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