‘Cashless Starbucks’ Fears Go Viral
Starbucks has stated it has no plans to make its American, British or Canadian outlets cashless in response to calls for a boycott arising from fears cash would no longer be accepted. The confusion arose after a Twitter user posted a photograph taken at one store in Bradford, UK, informing customers it would be cashless from October 2022.
The hashtag #BoycottStarbucks was trending the following day, prompting Starbucks to post their own tweet explaining there is no company-wide cashless policy, and the majority of their outlets offer the choice of cash payment. As the company works with licensed business partners in the UK, store policy is set by individual owners rather than Starbucks itself.
It followed up with confirmation from the @StarbucksCare account that its stores in Canada and the U.S. were also not going cashless, with a spokesperson saying to fact-checking site Snopes.com: ‘Starbucks has no plans to go cashless across our UK, U.S. or Canada stores and we want to shut down any inaccuracies or further speculation on this matter.’
The uproar caused by the misunderstanding is a reminder of serious concerns around access to cash, and people’s right to full payment choice.
In the UK, while the Treasury set out plans to support and regulate retail cash access in early summer, and the Post Office recently announced it has seen record demand for cash, there are still increasing numbers of ‘dry spots’—especially in rural communities—where people struggle to access physical money. Also, while nationwide many Starbucks continue to accept cash, social media users were quick to point out the numerous stores that do not.
Charlie Evans, a Welsh Conservative local councillor, said that he himself had been unable to use cash at a Starbucks recently, and expressed concern for the impact of a cashless society, and how it risked needlessly excluding groups who rely on cash for their daily affairs.
Decisions like this exclude the elderly, homeless and other disadvantaged groups. We’re not ready for cashless and there is no need.