OPERATIONS

Amazon partners with Western Union

BY Dan Berthiaume

Amazon shoppers in 10 developing nations no longer have to worry about having a credit or debit account.

Amazon and Western Union are introducing PayCode, a service that allows consumers to make purchases using local cash currency, in Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Peru, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand. To use PayCode, customers in these countries select the PayCode payment option on eligible purchases at checkout.

Customers then provide additional information used by Western Union to process their payment, and checkout price is automatically updated to local currency. Customers are then sent a QR code with instructions on how to pay for their purchase at a local participating Western Union office.

Payments must be made at a Western Union office within 48 hours of receiving the code, or the order is canceled. Customers must provide their code as well as a valid photo ID. The Western Union agent will take payment and provide a receipt. Amazon will also send a confirmation email, and purchases will then ship normally. Western Union processes the foreign exchange, settlement and money movement requirements for international e-commerce transactions.

To qualify for Amazon PayCode, products must be export-eligible, purchased from a supported country, and not exceed a maximum value Amazon has not publicly specified. For refunds, shoppers can obtain a refund code through Amazon PayCode once Amazon receives the returned item. The code can be processed for cash value of the refund at a participating Western Union location within six months, or the value can be added to the customer’s Amazon gift card balance.

“Amazon is committed to enabling customers anywhere in the world to shop on Amazon.com, and a big part of that is to allow customers to pay for their cross-border online purchases in a way that is most convenient for them,” said Ben Volk, director, payment acceptance and experience at Amazon. “Amazon PayCode leverages the reach of Western Union to make cross-border online shopping a reliable and convenient experience for customers who do not have access to international credit cards, or prefer to pay in cash.”

Amazon is taking an increased interest in accepting cash payment for online purchases, and not just in developing nations. The e-tailer recently introduced a service called Amazon Cash in the U.S. that works similarly to PayCode, but in partnership with CVS, GameStop, and 7-Eleven store locations.

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