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Cash is alive and well in the U.S. Efforts to ban cashless retail are gaining momentum across the nation. In total there are 11 bills currently approved or making their way through the legislative process including two in Congress. Earlier this year, Philadelphia became the first major city to ban cashless retail stores in an effort to protect consumer access to the marketplace. New Jersey, San Francisco, Massachusetts, and other cities and states quickly followed suit. Find out the latest by reading more...
Of the most popular coffee shops in San Francisco’s Financial
District, only one is manned by a robot. Every morning, in a glass-and-wood
booth on the corner of One Bush Street, customers queue around a whirring
hydraulic arm, waiting for it to serve them cappuccino. It’s an odd sight. Cafe
X has three San Francisco locations, and all are cashless and fully automated,
with orders taken via app.
Paying with a credit card has many benefits but appreciating
the value of money isn’t really one of them. When the actual money is virtual —
represented solely by a line on a screen — and the process of making a purchase
is a quick swipe or a tap, it feels less real and less precious.
According to multiple recent press reports in the past 24 hours,
the formerly "cashless" Amazon-Go Stores will now start accepting
cash as well as other forms of payment at their retail locations. This reported
policy change follows claims by state and local lawmakers that cashless retail
discriminates against the under and un-banked, a position echoed by community
leaders who have called the cashless policy "elitist." Recently
enacted laws banning cashless retailers in Philadelphia and the state of New
Jersey, as well as the contemplation of similar legislation in New York City,
San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., have served to bolster the public
policy arguments against "no-cash" retailing.
News of the Amazon policy was leaked, and later confirmed,
from an internal meeting in which Steve Kessel, the company's Vice President of
Physical Stores, announced a variety of new "payment mechanisms" for
Amazon's brick-and-mortar locations. These are said to include the acceptance
of cash payments and government subsidized SNAP benefit payments, along with a
program that would allow consumers to add cash value to digital accounts via
other retailers, such as a convenience and drug store chains.
One of the most common complaints of small retailers like convenience stores, bars, and single location restaurants is the high cost of accepting credit and debit cards. Card processing fees can cut into already thin margins for many business owners. Now merchants can virtually eliminate fees with a cash discount program.