Philly Bans Cashless Stores, Should Amazon Be Worried?

Signage at an Amazon Go Store in Seattle |   Shutterstock

Signage at an Amazon Go Store in Seattle | Shutterstock

The city of brotherly love has passed legislation that prohibits businesses from going cashless. After July 1, businesses could be fined up to $2,000 if they don't accept cash payments.

Philly lawmakers in support of the bill argue that cashless establishments exclude a segment of the population without bank accounts or debit or credit cards.

26 percent of the city's residents are living below the poverty line, according to a spokesperson for Philly's Mayor Jim Kenney, who signed the bill into law.

"It just seemed to me unfair that I could walk into a coffee shop right across from City Hall, and I had a credit card and could get a cup of coffee. And the person behind me, who had United States currency, could not," said Bill Greenlee, Councilman and bill co-sponsor, to the "New York Times."

However, there are some exemptions to the law, including parking garages, hotels, and rental car businesses.

Philly isn't the only city considering this type of legislation either. Some cities, like Boston, already have this in place.

"Similar legislation is under consideration in cities including New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, DC. In New Jersey, the legislature has approved a bill which now just needs Governor Phil Murphy's signature to become law. Massachusetts, meanwhile, has long required businesses to accept cash," writes "engadget."

So how will this impact cashless, tech-focused stores like Amazon Go locations?

The law allows retailers with membership models (like Costco, BJ's) to be cashless, specifically cashless transactions are allow "at retail stores selling consumer goods exclusively through a membership model that requires payment by means of an affiliated mobile device application." But not everyone who uses Amazon.com is an Amazon prime member. This is also the case when it comes to the Amazon Go stores. So legislation like this could detour Amazon from setting up Amazon Go stores in certain cities.

Read more about Philly’s new bill at “engadget.”

So how do the cashless Amazon Go stores work? Watch our past video on the all-digital grocery stores below to learn more.