March 19, 2019

Philadelphia Bans Cashless Stores; May Threaten Crypto Industry

11 March 2019, 12:15 | Joann Bryant

Jaap Arriens Getty Images

Jaap Arriens  Getty Images

Other supporters-a camp which includes The National Retail Federation and The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia- argue that cashless businesses are the future, and banning them doesn't advance the issue of getting low-income people access to cash-free payment methods. The legislation, which Mayor Jim Kenney signed into law on February 28, aims to protect low-income citizens who might not have access to a bank account.

They have given such stores and restaurants until the 1 of July 2019, to change their payment policies or be liable to fines as heavy as two thousand dollars. While the convenience of technology has convinced many retailers to shift to credit cards and mobile payments only, Philly's leaders opted for the opposite, citing their 26-percent poverty rate and poor consumers, some of whom do not even have bank accounts.

There are exemptions to the statue, with parking lots, garages, and businesses who sell goods through a membership model - such as gyms - able to continue operations as normal.

According to the New York Times, New Jersey, New York, San Francisco and Chicago are all considering adopting similar laws. Philadelphia Councilman Bill Greenlee, who introduced the bill, said in a Tweet that almost 10% of Philly residents lack access to any credit. "It just seemed to me, if not intentional, at least a form of discrimination", Philadelphia Councilman William Greenlee told The Wall Street Journal. The company reportedly plans to open up to 3,000 of these stores throughout the USA over the next few years. Additional publications say New Jersey is also attempting to banish cashless stores.

In fact, the whole point of Amazon Go, the chain's tech-powered cashierless convenience store, is that there's no need to pay a cashier.

The city of Philadelphia says it's open to work with businesses concerned by the new law to bring about amicable resolutions.

It's unclear if Amazon Go could expand to Philadelphia.

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