Securing Access: Amazon Go Will Start Accepting Cash in Response to ‘Discrimination’ Criticism

Published on
April 15, 2019
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CMS Analytics’ ‘Securing Access’ series highlights initiatives around the world which are helping maintain and improve both the public’s and businesses access to cash.

Amazon Go stores will start accepting cash payments in response to criticism that the company is discriminating against the unbanked and more vulnerable members of society who rely on cash to make payments.

Opening to the public in 2018, Amazon Go currently has ten operating stores – a number which is expected to grow to 3,000 by 2021 according to Bloomberg. In store, there are no cashiers or checkout lines. Instead, customers download an Amazon Go mobile app to shop at the stores which then automatically detects products that are bagged, charging customers upon exiting.

However, with 6.5% of US households unbanked, there is a growing criticism against stores that do not accept cash. As a result, an increasing number of US cities are enforcing laws which ban stores from refusing cash payments for purchases to cater to the unbanked. Amazon Go is set to follow this trend with Senior Vice President of physical stores, Steve Kessel, stating that Go stores will introduce a pilot that accepts “additional mechanisms” for purchasing goods. These mechanisms include the government subsidized SNAP benefits and Amazon Cash; a method which enables customers to add cash to their digital accounts via local stores such as 7-Eleven or CVS.

While there is no time frame for when these changes will take place or what the company is planning to do, the notion, put forward by an Amazon Go spokesperson, that customers will be able to “check out, pay with cash, and then get [their] change” is another positive step in the campaign to securing access to cash for the public.

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