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Pay your online shopping in cash!

Categories : Innovation contributes to the efficiency of cash
June 26, 2017
Tags : poverty, Retailers, Social Inclusion, Trust, US, Usage
New services enbable online shoppers to pay cash.
Communication Team / Equipo de Comunicación

A survey conducted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in 2015 suggested that about 9 million US households do not own a bank account, and thus do not possess a debit or a credit card. As a result, these consumers have no access to online shopping, which almost always requires you to enter your credit or debit card to proceed to checkout. But this was before the arrival on the market of PayNearMe, Amazon Cash and PayPal My Cash.

Launched in 2010, PayNearMe was a pioneer in the field. It allows unbanked consumers to pay for bills and online purchases with cash at partner retailers. The system works via a barcode sent to the clients’ smartphone or in a printable format containing the bill’s details after s/he clicked on the “pay with cash” option. Customers can then visit any of the 28,000 participating retailers including CVS Pharmacy and 7-Eleven and pay the amount of their online purchases with cash. The system can also be used to pay for utility or insurance bills. Michael Kaplan – Manager at PayNearMe – explains that the service was originally intended for unbanked people, but is also used by consumers fearing data breaches. Indeed, the multitude of cyber-attacks that were conducted against banks or e-commerce websites over the past years has led many consumers to mistrust the system and go back to a more traditional payment methodpaper money.

Amazon and PayPal followed the trend and have both recently launched Cash cards. These cards can be purchased at retailers or grocery stores and loaded with cash. These are then used to pay online under the same principle as a debit card. Amazon Cash service is completely free of charge, while PayPal applies a $3.95 activation fee. Customers using PayNearMe might be charged additional taxes, although retailers are strongly encouraged to absorb the fees.

One of the rare drawbacks that can be cited is the repayment process in case of a dispute about the quality or delivery of goods. Customers paying with a credit card will be immediately refunded, while consumers using cash services will have to go through an additional step to get their money back. Yet the service have proven to be very successful, and PayNearMe is believed to move about a billion dollars every year through its network.

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