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April 10, 2019

Amazon says Go stores will soon accept cash, one month after Philly passes cashless store ban

Stores that only accept credit and debit payments have been decried as discriminatory and elitist

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Amazon has decided it will begin accepting cash at its Amazon Go stores, one month after Philadelphia became the first major U.S. city to ban cashless stores.

The company disclosed its decision to employees in a March meeting, according to a new CNBC report, in which Amazon Senior Vice President of Physical Stores Steve Kessel addressed a question about how the company plans to address discrimination and elitism.

Mayor Jim Kenney signed Philly's ban on cashless businesses on March 7, and the ban will to take effect July 1.

The practice of going cashless has been characterized by many as elitist and exclusionary, because it denies unbanked citizens access to a business.

Philadelphia City Councilman Bill Greenlee, who sponsored the city’s bill, said it seems "unfair" to have that kind of separation between cash and card in a store.

"It seems like in a regular commercial establishment," Greenlee said when City Council passed the ban, "people should be able to buy the product if they have the means to buy the product."

A 2017 survey found that about six percent of Philadelphia's population does not have a bank account.

According to Philly.com, Amazon reportedly told the city in February that a potential Amazon Go store in Philly would be affected if the bill passed.

A city spokesperson confirmed at the time that Amazon had indicated the bill could impede their consideration of a Philly location.


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