Weeks after Philadelphia and New Jersey passed laws banning cashless stores, Amazon said Wednesday that its cashierless retail locations will start accepting cash.
Amazon plans “additional payment mechanisms” at its so-called Go stores, which allow consumers to grab items they need and leave without checking out, a company executive told employees last month, CNBC reported. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed that the company plans to take cash at its Go stores, but provided no other details.
“We are working to accept cash at Amazon Go," the spokesperson said in an email.
As technology gives consumers more ways to pay, including with their smartphones, some stores have gone cashless to improve efficiency, reduce the risk of robbery, and avoid the hassle of handling cash. In Philadelphia, that includes the salad chain Sweetgreen, the coffee shop Bluestone Lane, and several locations at the University of Pennsylvania food hall, Franklin’s Table.
But lawmakers said cashless stores effectively discriminate against poor consumers who do not have access to credit or bank accounts. Nearly 6 percent of residents in the Philadelphia region were unbanked in 2017 and roughly 22 percent were considered “underbanked,” according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
“I think it’s a wise business move by Amazon and it acknowledges the fact that many people don’t have access to credit or simply don’t choose to always use it,” Moriarty said.
City Councilman Bill Greenlee, an at-large Democrat who sponsored the cashless ban in Philadelphia, said he is "happy to see that Amazon Go will start accepting cash so that all potential customers can shop at their establishments.”