In an age where eCommerce and trends toward cashless societies top payment discussions, Amazon sees things a little differently. With its PayCode service, Amazon is catering specifically to customers who use cash. That might sound like a step backward from pushing credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and touchless checkouts. After all, isn't eCommerce supposed to be cashless, digital, and instant? Where is Amazon going with this, and doesn't Amazon Cash already handle this scenario?
Many consumers in regions such as Japan, India, South America, and Africa sometimes have no choice but to pay with cash. Even when they have the option to pay electronically, many prefer cash. In the U.S., nearly a third of consumers still pay by cash, which is also the largest form of payment in the U.S. That was the findings of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco's 2018 report on payments.
So yes - there is certainly demand for cash payments. Amazon has a great opportunity to draw in new customers. But wait, you say, isn't Amazon cannibalizing Amazon Cash? If you aren't familiar with Amazon Cash, it lets consumers load cash into their Amazon account. PayCode is very different from Amazon Cash.
PayCode allows a customer to checkout on the Amazon store by choosing the PayCode option. Items are not shipped until the customer pays by cash. This is done at a Western Union location. At least in the U.S., 90 percent of the population lives within five miles of a Western Union location. The customer has four days to pay.
For Amazon, they are bridging the gap between disconnected, offline cash transactions, and pure eCommerce platforms. Given the ubiquitous global reach of Western Union, many cash-only consumers will now have the opportunity to participate in Amazon's online store.