Not everybody is happy that stores are beginning to ban cash payments, Amazon is now discovering as it works to accept cash at its previously cashless Amazon Go stores. The stores began popping up a year ago — allowing people to purchase snacks, pre-made meals and other assorted goods without interacting with anybody — but now legislation and backlash is catching up with the company.
Both Philadelphia and New Jersey have recently announced laws to ban cashless stores from existing within their jurisdiction, aiming to protect lower-income customers who are underbanked or do not have a bank account at all. A recent Gallup poll pegged the number of people making most or all of their purchases with cash at 24 percent
The internet behemoth already had a workaround that some users could use — Amazon Cash, which allows users to load money to their account at CVS, GameStop or 7-Eleven — but it still requires a phone (to scan a barcode) to stop at a Go store. The stores also don’t allow for SNAP benefit cards to be used, even though 12.5 percent of people in Seattle, 20.6 percent in Chicago and 11.7 percent of residents live in poverty in San Francisco, according to the US Census Bureau.
It’s unclear how this will look like in the company’s handful of physical stores, which there are around a dozen of. But it shouldn’t be too difficult for the company to solve its issue by installing self-checkouts (which are able to accept cash) or if it would hire staff to handle cash transactions themselves. There’s already employees located throughout the store, but currently they only help educate customers about different products.