Starbucks Is Testing Cashless Checkouts at One of Its Biggest Stores

published Jan 22, 2018
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The first cup of coffee is an essential part of the morning routine for many of us. That’s why so many people spend a big part of their daily commutes waiting in lines 40 people deep at their local Starbucks, just waiting to get their coffee, get to work, and get on with their day. Now Starbucks is trying out a new system to see if they can make those lines move faster, by not accepting cash entirely at one of their stores as part of a new cashless pilot program.

According to Food Drink & Franchise, Starbucks is going cashless at one of its biggest Seattle stores. As of last Tuesday, the Starbucks in the Russell Investment Center in Seattle no longer accepts cash at all — just credit cards and phone payments. Customers can still leave tips in cash, though.

Interestingly enough, Starbucks didn’t even put up signs informing customers that the location wouldn’t be accepting cash anymore. They’re reportedly relying on baristas to explain the situation to customers.

A lot of Starbucks customers already don’t use cash for their coffee purchases. Many busy adults use credit or debit cards, and Starbucks’ mobile phone payment system has been growing a lot recently. In the last quarter of 2017, 36 percent of Starbucks’ total transactions in the U.S. were paid with phones, not cash or even credit cards. And that’s expected to grow.

Since fewer people are using cash anyway, Starbucks thinks going cashless could speed up transaction times during busy periods, and also free up the baristas to be making more drinks, instead of ringing up all those transactions. Starbucks also hopes going totally cashless could reduce the risk of theft and reduce the number of bank runs employees have to make.

This is a new test, and according to Payment Week, the Russell Center Starbucks was already mostly cashless anyway. Starbucks hasn’t said how long the test will go on, or if it will roll out to any other stores. But it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the future.

Would you mind if your Starbucks stopped accepting cash?