Amazon to open first Go store that accepts cash

Amazon Go

Amazon Go

Critics say refusing cash payments harms low-income people and the homeless, who are less likely to have access to credit cards.

Amazon's first cashier-less convenience store to hit NY opened on Tuesday in Manhattan. As usual, Amazon Go customers can still walk in and check out using the app as long as its connected to a credit card. Amazon has also said it's working on a way to accept paper bill and coins at more of its stores.

Above, people shop at the newly opened Amazon Go Store on May 07, 2019 in New York City.

Salad chain Sweetgreen announced last month that it will accept cash at all its restaurants by year's end, saying going cashless "had the unintended effect of excluding those who prefer to pay or can only pay with cash". After shoppers grab what they want off the shelves, an employee will scan each item with a mobile device, take the cash, give customers their change and hand them a receipt.

"I just felt it wasn't fair that if someone wanted to buy a sandwich in a store, and they had cash, that they would be turned away", said Supervisor Vallie Brown, who introduced the legislation.

"This is how we're starting", he says.

A small but growing number of stores around the country have gone cash-free.

Philadelphia became the first city to ban cashless stores earlier this year, and New Jersey passed a statewide ban soon after.

In many ways, the legislation is an easy call for San Francisco officials, who strive to make life more equitable in a city with an enormous wealth gap. Customers will also be able to pick up Amazon's Meal Kits.

A clerk restocks items in a newly-opened Amazon Go store, Tuesday, May 7, 2019 in NY. That's because the store is the first to accept cash. But the Amazon Go concept isn't created to have the cash checkout capability, so bottlenecks may ensue if too many consumers try to pay with cash.

Unlike the other 11 Amazon Go stores, in Seattle, San Francisco and other West coast locations, where customers are tracked around the shop and automatically charged on leaving, the NY site will let customers pay for their purchases with cash.

An Amazon Go location in downtown Seattle.

It opened to the public in January 2018.

Customers scan a unique QR code within the app before passing through a set of glass doors, similar to the gates Amazon employees go through when entering their office buildings every morning.

Ready-to-eat lunch items greet shoppers when they enter.

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