The two companies launched PayCode earlier this year. It is available in 19 other countries, especially in those countries where it is more common to pay with cash instead of a debit or credit card. About 80 percent of Americans live within five miles of one of the 15,000 participating Western Union locations, Amazon claims. PayCode comes alive in the US today and will roll out across the country in the coming weeks.
"Customers have told us they love the convenience of paying cash," said Ben Volk, director of payments at Amazon, in a statement. "Together with Western Union, we can offer customers more shopping choices so they can pay for their online purchases in a way that is convenient for them."
With PayCode, Amazon will certainly hope to reach potential customers who usually prefer to shop in brick and mortar stores. However, the system may still not be viable for people who do not have a smartphone (or a way to print a QR code) or for those without a photo ID ̵
The company says that 77 percent of US payments were made in person last year, and of those 39 percent were with cash, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Many people do not have a bank account or credit card, and not everyone is willing to upload a prepaid debit card. Amazon Go grocery stores were meant to be cashless, but Amazon has begun accepting physical money there.
Meanwhile, Amazon Cash is now available in more than 100,000 locations in the United States, including Western Union. The service allows people to load cash into their Amazon account and offers them a different payment option.