The newest Amazon Go store will be doing something old: accepting cash.
The move comes amid growing backlash against cashless stores, which critics say exclude people who don’t have bank accounts. Amazon Go announced in April it will begin accepting cash, but didn’t say where.
At other locations, shoppers enter by scanning the Amazon Go app. That’s still the case for customers paying with a credit or debit card, but people paying with cash will have an “entry associate” scan them through the turnstile, an Amazon spokesperson said.
Once they’re finished, those shoppers will check out with an Amazon Go employee and receive a paper receipt. Cashless customers can still walk out by scanning a phone that has the Amazon Go app at the turnstiles. Customers using the Go app can exit without waiting and get a digitized receipt.
The 1,300 square-foot New York store — the first Amazon Go store on the East Coast — will offer prepared foods, such as sandwiches and salads. It will also have Amazon Meal Kits and locally made options, including bagels from Ess-a-Bagel, pastries from Dominique Ansel and sweets from Magnolia Bakery.
The store is in Brookfield Place mall in Lower Manhattan.
Amazon said it will begin accepting cash at its other Go stores “over time.” A number of retailers and restaurants, such as salad chain Sweetgreen and taco restaurant Dos Toros Taqueria, are facing roadblocks to their cashless initiatives.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently signed a law banning cashless stores in that state. Philadelphia also enacted legislation prohibiting cashless stores earlier this month, and officials in New York City, Washington and San Francisco are considering similar moves. The federal government does not require retailers to accept cash.
“While card-only may be convenient for some businesses, it can actually be discriminatory against poor communities that don’t have as much access to banks or lines of credit,” said New Jersey State Senator Nellie Pou, who sponsored the state’s new law, previously told CNN Business.
Not accepting cash could also be bad for business. Americans use it in 30% of all transactions, according to a 2017 survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
People typically use cash for most purchases under $10, and it’s still the most common form of payment for people making less than $25,000 a year, according to the same survey.
Nathaniel Meyersohn contributed to this report.