Amazon's first debit card arrives in Mexico

Amazon Rechargeable can fill in for a conventional credit or debit card.

Amazon has taken a number of steps to help you shop online without a bank card, and now it's taking those efforts to their logical conclusion: the internet retailer has launched its first debit card, Amazon Rechargeable, in Mexico. Unlike a conventional debit or credit card, you can top it up using cash -- you can load it with the equivalent of $967 US every month. You get a virtual card the moment you sign up (you only need to supply basic name, gender and date of birth info), and anyone who loads Rechargeable with the equivalent of $27 or more will get a physical card.

The card isn't limited to Amazon, either. You can use it at other online stores, or to take advantage of outside internet services like Netflix, Spotify and Uber. Physical card owners can shop in retail stores. And if you need cash in a pinch, you can withdraw it from ATMs.

As with Amazon Cash and similar efforts, there's one clear objective: making Amazon accessible to a wider swath of the population. Under a third of Mexican adults have credit cards, according to the government's latest report, and that greatly limits their ability to shop through websites that frequently insist on credit. Rechargeable theoretically lets many more people buy from Amazon -- and since it's relatively open, gives them much more overall purchasing power.