Cashless stores banned in Philadelphia

Philadelphia has become the latest US city to pass a law effectively banning cashless stores, presenting a major hurdle for the emerging format.

On July 1 almost all businesses in the city will be required by law to accept cash payments and any retailers who fail to accept cash after July 1 could face a fine of up to $2000.

This follows news last month that legislators in New Jersey passed a similar bill banning cashless stores across the entire state, and it now only needs the signature of a state governor to become law.

Amazon’s Go format, which does away with cashiers altogether allowing customers to pay digitally via their Amazon account, could be exempt from the bill.

READ MORE: Cashless stores to be banned in 2nd US state despite Amazon opposition

A measure in the bill states that cashless transactions at “retail stores selling consumer goods exclusively through a membership model that requires payment by means of an affiliated mobile device application,” are allowed.

Despite this stipulation, Amazon argues that as it is not necessary for customers to be Prime members to shop in its Go stores, therefore they will still be affected under the bill.

An increasing number of retailers are favouring cashless payments due to the increased efficiency and safety of transactions, meaning there is less chance of being robbed due to holding no physical cash.

However, lawmakers argue that cashless stores discriminate against socioeconomic classes that do not have access to bank accounts and seniors who only use cash.

“It just seemed to me unfair that I could walk into a coffee shop right across from City Hall, and I had a credit card and could get a cup of coffee. And the person behind me, who had United States currency, could not,” the bill’s co-sponsor Councilman Bill Greenlee told the New York Times.  

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