Amazon’s cashless Go stores to begin accepting cash

Amazon’s pioneering cashless Go stores are due to start accepting cash, following growing concerns the format discriminates those without access to a bank account.

The retailer’s senior vice president of physical stores Steve Kessel told an internal meeting last month that its growing number of Amazon Go stores will soon introduce “additional payment mechanisms”.

“We are working to accept cash at Amazon Go,” an Amazon spokesperson later confirmed to CNBC.

Its high-tech store concept works by allowing users to scan their smartphones upon entry, linking to their Amazon accounts, then using cameras and sensors to determine every item a shopper picks up and charging their accounts automatically, leaving no need to visit a cashier.

READ MORE: Cashless stores banned in Philadelphia

Though hailed by many as the next step in physical retail, spawning many imitators, the format has come under fire from lawmakers in the US over concerns it discriminates against socioeconomic classes who only have access to cash.

Last month Philadelphia passed a law stating that after 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 a similar bill from the state of New Jersey a month prior.

“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.  

Kessel went on to highlight a new pilot payment system called Amazon Cash, which allows users to add cash to their digital accounts at local participating stores, including 7-Eleven or CVS.

No time frame or further details of how its 10 Amazon Go stores will begin accepting cash have yet been revealed.

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