San Francisco bans cashless stores as Amazon Go expands

San Francisco officials on Tuesday voted to ban cashless stores in the city, requiring that retailers accept cash even as business leaders such as Amazon seek to streamline transactions.

The city’s Board of Supervisors approved the measure via a unanimous vote. The legislation’s supporters argue that cashless stores discriminate against low-income residents who don’t have access to credit cards.

“The City must remain vigilant in ensuring its economy is inclusionary and accessible to Everyone,” the legislation says, according to the San Francisco Examiner. “The purpose of this [law] is to ensure that all City residents — including those who lack access to other forms of payment are able to participate in the City’s economic life by paying cash for goods and many services.”

San Francisco is the second U.S. city to ban cashless stores this year. Philadelphia and the state of New Jersey have passed similar bills in recent months.

Amazon did not immediately return a request for comment on the measure’s passage.

Amazon has been testing cashless store concepts in cities around the country, including San Francisco, and reportedly plans to open as many as 3,000 convenience stores in the coming years. The e-commerce giant reportedly warned Philadelphia officials earlier this year that a cashless transaction ban would cause it to reconsider plans in the city.


However, Amazon has since softened its stance, announcing last month that “Amazon Go” stores would begin to accept cash in addition to cashless options. The company opened a New York City location this week that takes cash.