If you don't have a bank card, shopping online is nearly impossible.

People without access to credit and debit cards - including minors - are limited to using gift cards or throw-away refill cards when it comes to buying goods on the internet. Amazon, however, has introduced a new service that aims to change all that. The service is called Amazon Cash, and it essentially lets you apply cash toward your Amazon account balance so that you can finally have money to spend on Amazon.com.

Confused? Well, here is how it works.

What is Amazon Cash?

Amazon Cash lets you add money to your Amazon account balance. So, if you don't have a bank card or a gift card hooked up to your Amazon account, you can use Amazon Cash to buy goods on Amazon.com.

How does Amazon Cash work?

Get your barcode

Go here to get your Amazon Cash barcode via text message. This barcode can be used every time you want to add money to your Amazon account balance. There is no need to generate a new code each time. When you generate your barcode on your smartphone, you have the option to save it to your digital wallet (for iOS users) or add a shortcut to your home screen (for Android users).

From the Amazon Cash barcode page in the Amazon App:

  • iOS users: Select “Add to Apple Wallet” to store your Amazon Cash barcode in your smartphone’s digital wallet.
  • Android users: Select “Add to Home Screen” to create a shortcut on your smartphone’s home screen.

It is not necessary to have a smartphone to take advantage of Amazon Cash, however. You can use Amazon's print-at-home barcode option by visiting www.amazon.com/cash on a desktop browser and selecting “Get your barcode”.

Go to a store

You need to bring your Amazon Cash barcode into a participating store and show it to a cashier in order to add money to your Amazon account balance. You can only add an amount between $15 and $500 in cash during a single Amazon Cash transaction, but daily limits may vary by retailer. Funds are available immediately after the cashier hands you a receipt for your transaction.

Buy stuff online

Once you add money to your Amazon account balance, you can shop for millions of physical products and digital content on Amazon.com like you normally would if you had a bank card or gift card. In fact, Amazon said there is no difference between Amazon Cash and gift cards: "These are two different names for the same cumulative stored value balance you have available for use on Amazon.com."

View your account balance

You can view your Amazon account balance here on Amazon.com.

Are there any fees?

There are no fees.

Which stores let you add Amazon Cash?

Amazon said it partnered with thousands of stores across the US, including CVS Pharmacy, Speedway, Sheetz, Kum & Go, D&W Fresh Market, Family Fare Supermarkets, and VG's Grocery. A directory of all participating stores can be found at www.amazon.com/cash.

Where is Amazon Cash available?

At launch, Amazon Cash is only available in the US. As TechCrunch noted, more than a quarter of American consumers rely primarily or exclusively on cash, so this new service lets Amazon reach a wider audience in the States.

Want to know more?

Check out this Amazon Cash FAQ page.

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