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Wal-Mart Launches Buy Online, Pay Cash in Store For US Shoppers

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(Image: Zoran Ozetsky)
(Image: Zoran Ozetsky)


  • Only 15% of purchases made by Wal-Mart target audience paid for by credit card
  • Wal-Mart first major retailer to offer “pay-in-cash” option for online purchases
  • 25% of US households have little or no access to credit cards, bank accounts

US retail giant Wal-Mart Stores has introduced a new payment option to cater to more of its customers: shoppers on Walmart.com can now “pay with cash” instead with credit cards or debit cards.

The new payment option was tested in a handful of US stores before being launched nationwide. Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Walmart.com, says: "We are going to touch a segment of the American public who hasn't been able to participate online without going through a lot of hoops."

Wal-Mart caters to lower income customers, and only 15% of purchases are paid for with a credit card. The new payment option will attract those who either don’t have a credit card or won’t use one online for security reasons.

When making a purchase online, customers will be given the “pay in cash” option at checkout. The customer must then print out a receipt and, within 48 hours, take the receipt to a cash register at any of the 3,800 US-based Wal-Mart locations.

In store, they will be given the option of having the item shipped to the store or their home. The customer will receive an email or text when the product is available.

Unbanked and Underbanked Customers

Wal-Mart is the first major retailer to offer the “pay-in-cash” option for online purchases.

It is attempting to attract those who are considered unbanked or underbanked, meaning customers who have little or no access to credit cards or bank accounts. According to the FDIC, 25% of US households fall in this category.

However, the vast majority of these households have internet access.

The option to pay with cash gives Wal-Mart an advantage over other leading online retailers, including Amazon which would need to partner with thousands of retail locations to introduce the same program.

Key Statistics - US Online Retail/Ecommerce Market (source: MarketLine)

  • In 2010, the US online retail sector had revenues totaling close to $153 billion. This represents for the time frame 2006-2010 a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 9%.
  • In 2010, the most lucrative segment for the US online retail sector was electronics sales. Revenue totaled almost $36 billion. This is equivalent to 23% the sector's overall value.
  • The sector’s growth is predicted to accelerate. A CAGR of 10.5% for the five-year period 2010–2015 is expected. The sector is predicted to value more than $251 billion by the end of 2015.

By Melina Druga for
Melina Druga is an author and freelance journalist. You can follow her on Twitter @MelinaDruga .

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