Amazon Go stores may soon accept cash. “We are working to accept cash at Amazon Go,” an Amazon spokesperson confirms in a statement to Digital Transactions News.
Amazon Go stores only accept in-app payments now. A consumer must download the Go app and scan a barcode from the app on her phone’s screen upon entering the store. Every time a shopper places an item in her physical basket, it is recorded in a virtual shopping cart assigned to her upon entering the store.
According to a report Wednesday by CNBC.com, Steve Kessel, Amazon.com Inc. senior vice president of physical stores, said in an employee meeting last month that “additional payment mechanisms” were planned for the Amazon Go locations. Currently there are 10 Amazon Go locations, but Amazon may be planning as many as 3,000 stores by 2021.
Adding cash acceptance may help address local bans on cashless stores, such as one in Philadelphia. Some of the impetus for the bans, which have been receiving heightened publicity in recent months, comes from local officials seeking to ensure individuals who may not have access to traditional banking services can still shop at stores. Cash acceptance may also address claims of elitism and discrimination that cashless-payment policies sometimes generate.
Just how cash acceptance might work at Amazon Go stores remains unknown. Today, Amazon Go stores use a collection of technologies, such as cameras, wireless connectivity, and computer-vision software to track a shopper’s every move from entry to exit. “Paying cash at Amazon Go will work as you would expect: you’ll check out, pay with cash, and then get your change,” Amazon says.