Now You Can Pay Amazon in Cash

The PayCode service works with Western Union

An illustration showing a hand with money reaching toward a laptop with the Amazon logo
Amazon is expanding payment options for U.S. customers. Western Union
Headshot of Lisa Lacy

Amazon is bringing its PayCode service to U.S. customers, which allows them to pay for online orders with cash through money transfer service Western Union.

Previously available in 19 other countries, Amazon customers in the U.S. will soon be able to select the PayCode option at checkout, too. Shoppers receive a QR code and a number, which they reference at Western Union to pay.

Customers have 24 hours to provide payment. Their items ship thereafter. Amazon said PayCode carries no additional fees.

PayCode customers who return an item will receive a cash refund at Western Union once Amazon receives the item in question.

PayCode is not be confused with Amazon Cash, a service that allows customers to use their mobile devices to load $5-$500 onto an Amazon Balance at over 100,000 U.S. cash-loading locations.

Amazon cited stats from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, which found 77% of payments made in the U.S. in 2018 were in person, and cash accounted for 39% of those in-person transactions.

“With over 15,000 eligible locations, 80% of Americans live within five miles of a participating Western Union agent location, making this a convenient solution for customers paying with cash,” Amazon added.

The move comes five months after criticism of Amazon for not accepting cash at its cash-free Amazon Go locations and allegations it discriminated against individuals without bank accounts. At the time, Amazon said it was trying to figure out how to accept additional payment options at Go. The first outpost in New York, which opened in May, was the first location to accept cash.

“We’re embracing the complexity of a world where cash and digital payments are likely to coexist far into the future,” wrote Khalid Fellahi, president of consumer money transfer at Western Union, in a statement. “We are providing easy solutions for customers who want access to the convenience of online shopping but prefer to pay in person.”

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@lisalacy Lisa Lacy is a senior writer at Adweek, where she focuses on retail and the growing reach of Amazon.