Amazon Now Seeks To Innovate With Cash In The Face Of Public Pushback

Posted On: 4/22/2019

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According to multiple recent press reports, 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, DC, 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, Amazon's 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 convenience and drug store chains.
 
The National ATM Council Inc. (NAC) has expressed its firm support for those states and municipalities seeking to ban so-called "cashless" retailing. "We see this as an absolute win for cash, for consumers, and even for Amazon," George Sarantopoulos, NAC chair and chief executive of Access One, an ATM and merchant services provider based in Brooklyn, NY. "When consumers have freedom of choice, innovation can flourish. This is true for payment methods as well as for goods and services."
 
NAC said it will continue keeping a close eye on developments such as these at the local, state and national levels to help ensure that the availability and use of cash remains strong throughout the U.S.