But a backlash has grown, as the cashless trend leaves out lower-income customers who may not have a bank account. Greenlee argued that a city with a 26 percent poverty rate could not afford to become a cashless city.
Though digital transactions are faster and easier, they leave some people out altogether.
Not everybody is on board with this cashless utopia, however. As of past year, an estimated 15.6 million people in the United States do not have a bank account. "Most of the people who don't have credit tend to be lower income, minority, immigrants".
Philadelphia is the first major USA city to ban cashless stores, placing it at the forefront of a debate that pits retail innovation against lawmakers trying to protect all citizens' access to the marketplace.
Statewide, Massachusetts has already had a policy against cash-free businesses for a long time.
Speaking with the NYT, the bill's co-sponsor Bill Greenlee, City Councilman, explained, "It just seemed to me unfair that I could walk into a coffee shop right across from City Hall, and I had a credit card and could get a cup of coffee".
The Philadelphia law also prohibits establishments from charging customers more if they pay in cash, and from posting signs that indicate cash will not be accepted.
City spokesman Mike Dunn confirmed Amazon told the city the legislation would "impede" plans for a Go store.
Those who say the law isn't strong enough point to the fact that it provides exemptions to parking lots and garages, memberships stores like Costco, rental companies and retailers that accept mobile payments, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. You don't need a paid Prime membership to shop at Amazon's Go stores - only an Amazon account - eliminating the potential for a loophole. Amazon declined to comment.