Shoppers on Walmart.com who either don't have a credit card or don't want to use one because of security reasons can now go the cash route. Hitting the selection sends the customer an email receipt with an order number that must be presented at a physical Wal-Mart store within 48 hours.
After paying with cash there, the purchased items are shipped either to the store or to the buyer's home. Customers who were shopping online because there isn't a Wal-Mart nearby are kind of left in the lurch, but that seems to be another problem for another time.
A quarter of U.S. households are considered "underbanked" or "unbanked" -- with no or limited access to bank accounts, credit or debit cards or other banking options – according to the
In Wal-Mart stores, which cater to lower-income customers, only 15% of transactions are paid for with credit, according to the company.
But 81% of unbanked and 63% of underbanked households are hooked up to the Internet, where growing numbers of Americans are now doing their shopping. Wal-Mart, which is still fighting the fallout from a Mexico bribery scandal that exploded this weekend, didn't want to miss out on a huge revenue stream.
The chain said it's the first major retailer to offer an online cash option, which it said will give shoppers access to hundreds of thousands of products that aren't available in the brick-and-mortar stores.
"Many of our customers shop paycheck to paycheck and are looking for more ways to purchase items online but don't have the means to a credit, debit or prepaid card," said Walmart.com Chief Executive Joel Anderson in a statement.