Amazon Top Up Allows UK Underbanked Users To Pay With Cash

Amazon has added the ability for U.K. users to pay for products and services on its eCommerce platform using cash with Amazon Top Up.

According to Tech Crunch, the service allows shoppers to load between £5 and £250 into their Amazon U.K. accounts in a single top-up transaction. There are no fees to use the service, and funds are available to spend on immediately. However, the option is restricted to spending on eligible products and the service cannot be used to purchase Amazon Gift Cards.

To use the Amazon Top Up service, users need to obtain a barcode linked to their accounts via the Amazon website or mobile app, and then take it, along with the cash they want to add to their Amazon Top Up balances, to one of thousands of existing PayPoint locations in convenience shops, grocery stores and petrol stations across the U.K.

The cashier will then scan the code and add the cash to their Amazon Top Up balances. The amounts added expire 10 years after loading if not spent, and loaded Amazon Top Up cash cannot be withdrawn.

Amazon said the eligible products for purchase number in the “millions,” and noted more UK retailers are “coming soon.”

The company debuted a similar service, Amazon Cash, in the U.S. in April. With approximately 64 percent of households in the U.S. subscribing to Amazon Prime, adding a cash payment option is Amazon’s way of reaching those not in a position to access the premium membership service due to lack of a credit card or bank account.

In the U.K., the Prime subscription rate is approximately eight million, or one-third of U.K. households, so there is room for growth for Amazon in the country. In addition, recent figures suggest the number of unbanked in the U.K. is approximately 1.5 million, and the number of underbanked — those who are unable to access financial services such as a credit card, for example — would be considerably higher, running to multiple millions.