Amazon threatens Philadelphia to ban its cashless stores

Amazon is threatening to abolish the project to open a brick-and-mortar site in Philadelphia following a proposal banning retailers from accepting cash.

On Thursday, the city council approved a law requiring businesses to accept cash payments. Supporters say cashless stores discriminate against low-income buyerswho are less likely to pay for goods with credit or debit cards. The measure is now waiting for the mayor's signature.

Such a law would prevent Amazon from launching its Go stores in Philadelphia. Outlets do not have cash registers and only accept digital payments. They rely on sensors and automation software to allow consumers to shop without waiting for payment lines. The company operates a total of 10 Go stores in Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle and plans to open another 3,000 by 2021, according to Bloomberg.

Other companies, including Sweetgreen restaurant chains, Dig Inn and Dos Toros, have also stopped taking cash. Business owners say cashless transfers speed up payment lines, reduce costs associated with cash processing and reduce the risk of theft.

Amazon declined to comment.

"Legal offer"

But as cashless retailers root, lawmakers from several states have expressed concern about the potential impact on local residents. In Philadelphia, bills were introduced in New York, New Jersey and Washington, DC, which would require companies to accept cash.

Massachusetts is the only state that explicitly requires retailers to take money.

New York City council member Ritchie Torres on Thursday proposed a bill banning cashless retail, citing "the effect of exclusion that this will likely have on most New Yorkers." vulnerable "" at a hearing. "The money serves as an" equalizer "that allows New Yorkers to buy their choice of goods and services, while refusing to widen the gap between rich and poor. poor, he explained.

"When you open a dollar bill, it is written," This note is legal tender for all public and private debts. "These words remind us that cash is the universal currency," said Torres. "Not everyone has access to debit or credit, but all of us have access to money."

Inside the first store without any cash from Amazon

Consumer advocates argue that the trend of cashless retailing is hurting people without a chequing or savings account, as well as those who are forced to rely on prepaid cards with fees or rates. High interest.

In the meantime, even those who subscribe to the restrictions on cashless stores say that ending the practice is just a dressing. They say that a more comprehensive remedy is needed to solve the real problem – the lack of access to credit – and to promote financial inclusion.

– Associated Press contributed to this report

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