Philadelphia becomes first US city to ban 'cashless' stores, report says

The city doesn't want to discriminate against people who don't have a credit card or bank account.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
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Philadelphia is reportedly the first US city to officially abandon digital-only stores.

The City of Philadelphia has banned "cashless" stores because allowing retail stores to stop accepting cash would discriminate against folks who don't have a bank account or credit card or who prefer using cash, according a Thursday report from The New York Times.

This comes as cashless stores have been on the rise. Amazon has been expanding its cashierless stores, dubbed Amazon Go outlets, across the nation. The e-commerce giant has already opened shop in Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago, and another location is expected to come to New York City. With Amazon Go, customers scan their phones at the store's entry, then simply pick the items they want and leave. In-store cameras track what people take off the shelf, and customers get charged for items when they scan their phone on the way out.

It's unclear if Amazon Go could expand to Philadelphia. Amazon declined to comment. The City of Philadelphia didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The new legislation was reportedly signed by Mayor Jim Kenney last week and will take effect July 1. Businesses that violate the law could reportedly be fined up to $2,000. Some transactions are reportedly exempt: parking lots, garages, businesses that offer memberships, rentals with security deposits, electronic transactions and goods sold only to staff.