- Companies like Starbucks and Amazon are testing stores that do not accept cash.
- Going cashless can provide key advantages for retailers, such as boosting efficiency and preventing robberies.
- However, for the 7% of Americans without a bank account, a cashless society would mean complete exclusion.
The US could be on its way to a cash-free economy.
And, while going cashless has some distinct upsides in the tech-obsessed world of retail, it could be a dangerous development for some of the country’s most vulnerable people.
This week, Amazon finally opened the doors of its futuristic grocery store, Amazon Go, in Seattle. The cash-free store allows customers to simply walk out without paying at a cash register, with the proper money simply being charged to their Amazon account.
Amazon isn’t the only company experimenting with cashless. The popular salad chain Sweetgreen announced it was going completely cash-free in late 2016, and Starbucks recently opened a cashless store in Seattle.
“Mobile payment in the U.S. has grown to over 30% of total tender,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a call with investors on Thursday. “The ubiquity of mobile and credit card payment is enabling us to begin an exploration of cashless stores in the US.”
Maya Mikhailov, the CMO of retail app developer GPShopper, told Business Insider that quick-service restaurants and other chains, such as Sweetgreen and Starbucks, are set to lead the way in the revolution against cash. Going cashless can speed up service, dissuade theft, and allow companies to gather more information on shoppers by linking them to digital loyalty programs.