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The old adage holds that cash is king — but these days, bills and coins are losing steam.
While most stores offer the option to either pay with credit or cash, some retailers, most notably e-tail behemoth Amazon with its Go stores, have experimented with ditching dollars in favor of cards and e-payments.
But despite the national debate over the ethical implications versus the benefits of taking the cashless route, few stores in the footwear and apparel sector have actually tested the model.
“Cashless stores are fairly uncommon and many businesses actually prefer cash payments in order to avoid credit-card transaction fees,” said Stephanie Martz said, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Retail Federation (NRF). “The majority of small purchases are still made in cash, and we don’t expect that to change anytime soon.”
Still, pioneers of the model have lauded its benefits — including lower incidence of theft, faster transactions and more convenience in accounting — as part of retail’s larger move to embracing technology and innovation.
“In approaching a cashless model, what we’re really talking about is the utilization of electronic payments, which brings with it additional levels of security, additional levels of sophistication to some degree but simplicity as well,” said Amy Zirkle, interim CEO of the Electronic Transactions Association. “Oftentimes, electronic-based programs bring greater solutions for accounting [and] greater solutions for managing inventory.”
Cashless retail stores are often in the headlines these days. As the name would suggest, they allow people to go into a store and buy things without using cash. Typically, shoppers have their payment details stored in an app, and a card on file automatically gets charged for their items when they leave the store.
These high-tech shops are getting more popular, especially in cities. They allow people to buy what they need or want faster than if they waited in lines for cashiers to serve them.
It may be convenient for some shoppers to buy things without carrying around cash, but critics weigh in and say this trend poses ethical questions that must be taken seriously as the technology continues to roll out in more places.
The Cashless Economy Gives More Power to Fewer Companies