Amazon is giving US customers the ability to pay for online purchases with cash under a partnership with Western Union
A new scheme enables skimmers to host deceitful third-party processor that appears just like the real one. AFP / Lionel BONAVENTURE

Amazon's latest innovation in the online payment world is something called... cash.

The e-commerce giant said Wednesday it was rolling out a cash payment option for US customers that has already been used in 19 other countries.

The "Amazon PayCode" option is in partnership with the payments firm Western Union.

Customers will henceforth be able to take their greenbacks to one of 15,000 Western Union locations to pay for their purchase without any added fees, Amazon said in a statement.

“We’re constantly innovating to improve the shopping experience on behalf of our customers, and are proud to expand Amazon PayCode to customers in the US," said Ben Volk, the company's head of payments.

"Customers have told us they love the convenience of paying in cash. Together with Western Union, we're able to offer customers more shopping choices, enabling them to pay for their online purchases in a way that is convenient for them."

The new service adds to the Amazon Cash system, which allows customers to create gift or payment cards with cash by going to retail locations such as CVS pharmacies or 7-Eleven convenience stores.

The move comes amid a growing worldwide trend toward "cashless" purchases and payments with new technologies such as facial recognition.

Some activists have argued that the move away from cash has a negative impact on people without access to the banking system and could diminish privacy.

Amazon said Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco data showed that 77 percent of payments in the US in 2018 were made in-person and that cash accounted for 39 percent of the volume.