- Amazon's new store in New York is the first to accept cash as a payment method. A spokesperson for the company said that customers wanting to pay cash can alert a store associate, get scanned into the store, and pay at the checkout cart before leaving.
- The new 1,300-square-foot store opened Tuesday in Manhattan's Brookfield Place. It marks the 12th store in the cashierless convenience store Go concept, which reportedly could expand to 3,000 locations in the next few years.
- In April, Amazon signaled it would start accepting cash payments at its Go stores, though it didn't specify a timeline for doing so. The move comes as some cities, including New York, consider banning cash-free stores, which pose challenges to the underbanked.
Amazon has taken flak for its cashless stores as cities address tensions among technology, merchant preferences and the fact that many shoppers, often those of low income, still typically pay in cash, out of necessity or privacy concerns.
A spokesperson for the company confirmed in April that Amazon was working to accept cash at Go stores, saying at the time, "Paying cash at Amazon Go will work as you would expect: you'll check out, pay with cash, and then get your change."
It follows bans on cashless stores in Philadelphia and New Jersey earlier this year. San Francisco — home to three Go stores — Washington, D.C. and New York have mulled similar measures. Massachusetts has required businesses to accept cash for more than 40 years.
It's not yet clear to what extent accepting cash will do for Amazon's vision of a seamless shopping and checkout experience at its convenience stores. In Philadelphia, the company lobbied city officials to "slow down" and potentially "escape" the cashless store ban, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Wall Street Journal reported that Philadelphia's cashless bans don't apply to stores with membership models, which would include Costco, but Amazon Go stores don't require a Prime account.
Businesses advocating against such bans argue that cashless stores reduce theft and tax evasion. They can also shorten lines and cut out labor.
Along with accepting cash, Amazon is testing additional payment methods companywide, including Amazon Cash, which allows shoppers to add cash to their digital account. It is also part of a pilot to accept SNAP benefits online.