How to buy stuff on Amazon with Bitcoin
Amazon has pretty much everything, and so it’s no surprise that everyone just wishes that Amazon would go ahead and accept Bitcoin already. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem they have any plans to do that in the immediate future. However, there is a pretty great work around, and it can even net you a 15% discount or more on your purchase for doing so. It’s called Purse.io.
What is Purse.io?
It’s important for you to realize that Purse is not associated with Amazon in any way. They are simply a pass through, or a middleman that allows you to basically sell your Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash to other users for stuff on your Amazon wish list. You can think of this as being similar to Localbitcoins. The discount comes from them being willing to accept less than market value in order to purchase Bitcoin in a more unconventional way. All purse does is facilitate the trade for you and act as an arbitrator if things go south. Many are skeptical at first to find out people are willing to take such a large reduction in value just to buy Bitcoin, but there are several reasons that people might want to do this.
- Private purchases
Many people simply want to own their cryptocurrencies privately. There’s nothing wrong with this, and using a site like this one is one of the only ways that they would be able to do so. It’s also possible that their bank may be blocking “traditional” cryptocurrency purchases, and this is a way to get around it by trading Amazon purchases. By using Purse, these people can buy Bitcoin safely by using Amazon gift cards.
- Mechanical Turk Earners
Mechanical Turk employs lots of people in countries where there aren’t really any good ways for them to cash out. Much of this has to do with international banking laws that are still a huge pain in the ass. They can however take payment in Amazon gift card credits, and then use Purse to swap those for Bitcoin. While Amazon does have a lot of stuff, you still need actual money for your food and utilities to spend locally. It’s much easier to swap Bitcoin for cash than gift cards in most places, so many of these workers use this method to cash out.
- People with Amazon credit
Some people believe it, or not do not want Amazon gift cards. They’d rather have Bitcoin, and if they have gotten gift cards as a present they can easily flip these for cryptocurrency. If you have a bunch of Amazon credit but you’re in need of cash for bills, then Purse provides a pretty convenient way to flip those cards for Bitcoin which can turn into cash easier.
These are the legitimate uses of Purse.io, but there’s another group that you should be wary of on the internet unfortunately. That’s people who are looking to commit credit card fraud. Usually these people will buy a bulk list of information, and then try to empty those cards. Cryptocurrency is very attractive to these people as a way to take this money before it is reported to the credit card company. In a few cases this has caused issues for some Purse users who were questioned by the authorities, since they we’re the ones that received the goods, but this has only happened a handful of times in an unfathomable number of transactions. Purse has also made a guarantee that they will help to resolve any wrongful activity and offers buyers certain protections.
How does Purse work?
After signing up for an account, you’ll start by adding some stuff to your cart. Purse does have its own search function now, so you can look for stuff without ever going to Amazon. You can also directly upload a public wish list from Amazon, and then add those items to your cart. The wish list method is the easiest in the long run for me since I keep a running of list of future purchases anyway.
Once you’ve added all of your stuff to your cart, now it’s time to choose the price you’re hoping to get for these items. On your first purchase you’ll be limited to a 15% discount. This is because a discount of this amount will be filled quickly. My first order was picked up within a couple of hours. You can however choose a discount up to 33%, but be warned that higher discounts may not be the best idea.
For starters, it may take a long time for somebody to take your order. Remember, these people are looking to cash out their credit, but they aren’t looking to get robbed in the process. Too steep of a discount also becomes a problem, because it can attract unsavory types to your listing. This could get you into trouble with those people we talked about before that may have stolen the credit card they’re using. They don’t care about taking a huge hit, because it wasn’t their money anyway. If you need a good idea of the “going rate” at the present time, then click over to the “earn” tab up top, and you’ll be able to see the lowest accepted rates.
18% is the lowest rate available right now in my country, so let’s try that one. Purse gives you an estimated delivery time. This number is based on how long it will take not only the purchaser to complete the order, but also how long it takes Amazon to ship it to you. If you want to have your stuff sooner, then select a smaller discount. If you can afford to wait, then you may be able to save a little more. My first order for the 15% rate arrived in 2 days.
A note on the extra fees section: In most cases you will not need to use this section. However, you need to check to make sure that your purchase will not incur any additional fees for the earner. If your item has some kind of up charge or shipping fee, then you would add it here. You can avoid this entirely by only choosing items that are fulfilled by Amazon. This also means you’ll get free shipping over $25.
Once you’ve selected your discount, you’ll need to then enter your shipping information. Purse automatically calculates any taxes and fees for you, unfortunately they use a very high rate that may not be applicable to your state or locale. Don’t worry though, they refund these to your account wallet after if it’s found you’ve over paid. They also tack on a purse fee. My actual fees ended up being much lower than what was originally displayed, and the extra showed up in my wallet shortly after confirming the purchase.
The next step is to review your ordered items, your address and make sure everything is correct. After that, go to the payment screen. Here you can pay for your order using either Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash. I would recommend the latter. For some reason, Purse only gives you 15 minutes of confirmation time, and I’ve had enough hung up Bitcoin transactions to know that’s bad news. Either way, make sure you’re ready to go on the payment as soon as you hit the “pay” button.
For my second order, I decided to test out a higher discount order to see how long it would take to fill. After you make a payment your order will display “waiting for earner” until somebody picks it up. Once they do it will change to display who took it, and they will begin filling the purchase.
Depending on the discount you’ve chosen or the availability of orders, your transaction could get picked up in a couple of hours or it could even take a few days. If you’re tired of waiting, then you can always cancel it and try for a different discount.
After a successful agreement is made, you’ll be able to track the earner’s progress in your dashboard. Once they’ve completed the purchase with Amazon, they submit estimated delivery dates and tracking numbers to your Purse page. You can then track your order just like you would if you bought it yourself. Once the items have been delivered, you can release the Bitcoin to your earner partner.
A note about escrow: Your Bitcoin for the order is held in escrow. It’s important that you do not release the escrow until you have verified that the items you receive are what you paid for. Make sure everything is there before releasing the escrow!
Tips for making your first order
- Choose a reasonable discount to get fast shipping.
- If you have a big order break it into smaller orders to get it filled quicker
- Make them at least $25 to qualify for free shipping
- Have your BTC ready to go in your wallet before hitting purchase due to the time limit
- Only order items fulfilled by Amazon for free shipping/Prime shipping
My thoughts on Purse.io
My first experience with the site was great. I got my order from Amazon in 2 days, and everything was accounted for. I was a little worried at first, because it seems Amazon split my order into two boxes, and it was initially marked “delivered” even though I had only gotten the least expensive item. However, this was quickly rectified, and I did not have to release any money until everything had arrived, and I had time to check it out.
I really enjoyed the fact that I could add stuff directly from Purse’s site to my cart instead of needing to make a wish list first, and aside from a little initial confusion over the “extra fees” section all was well. They make it very easy to see what’s going on with your order, and if you have any problems you can contact support to sort it out. I did not need to contact support for my order, so I can’t really say how good it is, but I’ve heard good things from others.
Overall my experience with Purse.io was very good, but I do have a few grievances with the service that could make it better in my eyes.
- Fix the fee over charges
While you do get these fees returned to you, it does seem stupid to have to pay them in the first place. Hopefully they can make it so their system charges the correct amount instead, as the extra fees may be off putting to new users who do not understand.
- Allow you to accept or deny earners
Currently you can’t choose who accepts your purchase. You can’t even really check their reviews from what I can tell, only see their star ratings. With the amount of people who try to commit fraud I would like the ability to either accept or reject certain earners or to set criteria for who can accept your orders.
- Make the purchase window longer
15 minutes is not long enough. I would ideally prefer this to be an hour just to make sure transactions can confirm in time. I had to cancel my first order, because I didn’t realize how short the window was, and I needed to jump some Bitcoin to another wallet to pay.
Interested in giving Purse.io a go? You can create a free account here to start browsing the site and seeing all the cool stuff that you could be buying on Amazon with bitcoin.