Amazon is responding to growing criticism of retailers that don’t accept cash, which advocates for the poor say is a discriminatory practice.
The tech giant confirmed plans to start accepting cash at its Amazon Go convenience stores Wednesday as legislators across the country push for laws that ban cashless retail. Amazon did not provide a timeline for when it will implement its cash plan, which was first reported by CNBC.
New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia all have laws that require retailers to accept cash and other lawmakers are considering following suit. Their concern is for the unbanked, an estimated 6.5 percent of American households that don’t have access to financial services according to federal data.
That makes stores like Amazon Go — where customers pluck items off of shelves and walk out with them as their accounts are charged automatically — nearly impossible to patronize for millions of people. Amazon’s decision to incorporate cash into the technology allows them to reach more customers and avoid regulatory scrutiny.
Amazon currently has 10 checkout-free stores across Seattle, Chicago, and San Francisco. The company is considering opening up to 3,000 by 2021, according to Bloomberg, a massive expansion plan that would require opening more than 100 stores a month.