Turning Physical Cash into Digital Funds

November 6, 2017, Written By John H. Oldshue

It happens often—you see a great deal online, but the only money you have is physical cash. You could run to the bank and use your debit card to make the transaction, but that isn’t an option for everyone. In fact, the FDIC estimates there are approximately nine million unbanked households in America.

Thankfully, there are several ways to turn physical cash into digital funds, even if you do not have a bank account. One option is to use the new Amazon Cash program. On Amazon, you can request a barcode for Amazon Cash. Then, you can go to a participating location and load $15 to $500 onto your Amazon account. The cashier will scan the barcode for the transaction, and the funds will immediately be available for use. There are no fees and no plastic cards in this transaction.

Amazon Cash launched several months ago at over 10,000 locations, including CVS and Sheetz. Today, the company expanded this service to almost 8,000 7-Eleven locations nationwide.

If you don’t want to make an Amazon purchase, you could deposit cash into your PayPal account with PayPal Cash. The program is almost identical to the Amazon Cash setup, but PayPal does charge a $3.95 fee. Deposits must be between $20 and $500. The service is available at CVS, Rite Aid, 7-Eleven and other retailers.

Another option to use is a prepaid debit card to make a purchase online. Terms and deposit options vary by card, and some prepaid cards take a couple days to process a deposit. Some prepaid cards charge a fee for each deposit, and others charge a transaction fee for every purchase. Review the terms of service carefully to select the right prepaid card for your needs.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of November 6, 2017. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About John H. Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of LowCards.com. He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers credit card rate issues for LowCards.com.
View all posts by John H. Oldshue