There's a New Way for Amazon Customers to Make Purchases With Cash

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We've reached the point where people now do most of their shopping online, but storing your financial information with e-retailers leaves you vulnerable to identity theft and credit card fraud. Using cash is more secure, but you lose out on the convenience of ordering paper towels in your pajamas. Until now: As CNBC reports, Amazon has launched a service called Amazon Cash that allows you to shop online sans plastic.

Here’s how Amazon Cash works: Customers can add money to their Amazon balance by visiting participating brick-and-mortar retailers. (Seven partners are lined up—including CVS Pharmacy, Sheetz, and Speedway—and more are in the works.) There, they present the cashier with a special reusable barcode they printed out at home or had Amazon Cash text to their phone. Once the cashier scans the barcode and you fork over cash in the desired amount, the funds are added to your Amazon Balance.

When it comes down to it, using Amazon Cash isn't all that different from using cash to buy an Amazon gift card. (And since Amazon gift cards are available at plenty of drug and convenience stores, it's probably still the more convenient way to use cash to buy things on Amazon.) But as TechCrunch notes, Amazon Cash streamlines the checkout process—you don't have to buy the card and then separately enter its code into your Amazon account. It also lets customers select how much money they want to add to their Amazon balance, instead of purchasing a gift card with a fixed amount (so if you know you want an item that costs $36, for instance, you don't need to purchase a $50 gift card).

As of April 3, Amazon Cash was made available to customers "at thousands of participating convenience, grocery, and drug stores," according to Amazon's website.

[h/t CNBC]