Pumping the Brakes on the Cashless Society

The rise of mobile and digital payments has led to some nations around the world becoming nearly cashless. The benefits to eliminating cash from an economy exist; these include getting rid of the time and cost spent handling and storing cash, as well as making it far harder for criminals to launder money.

However, as we have previously argued, there are also great downsides to a cashless society: namely that it would disproportionately affect the unbanked, elderly, and disabled. Apparently, Amazon agrees with that notion as well, as it announced it will start accepting cash at the currently cashless AmazonGo, in an effort to address “discrimination and elitism,” according to a company memo. Some states and municipalities have already begun to pass laws banning stores from being cashless, so perhaps Amazon is also getting ahead of the regulatory game.

Though digital payments are quick and convenient, not everyone can use them; and giving consumers more choices instead of fewer is always generally the better path to trod.