An increasing number of stores nationwide have recently turned "cashless," refusing to accept Washingtons, Lincolns, Jacksons and Benjamins. At some of these stores, such as Sweetgreen, customers are expected to download the company's mobile app and pay via a QR code. At the majority of stores, customers are expected to swipe their credit or debit card.
However, cashless stores are a problem for the estimated 8.4 million unbanked households in the United States. As a result, local and state governments are pushing back and banning stores from banning cash. Massachusetts and Philadelphia have already outlawed the practice, while New York City and New Jersey are considering similar measures.
The cashless controversy comes at a particularly critical time for Amazon, which is rolling out cashless stores nationwide. As Business Insider notes, "the whole point of Amazon Go, the chain's tech-powered cashierless convenience store, is that there's no need to pay a cashier. Customers can just swipe their app and go. The store's cameras and sensors will see what you take and charge you accordingly."
The cashless brouhaha once again shows how integral cash is to the lives of tens of millions in the United States, despite the increasing usage of digital money from credit cards to Cash App to cryptocurrency.