This week, Amazon finally opened the doors of its futuristic grocery store, Amazon Go, in Seattle. The cash-free store allows customers to simply walk out without paying at a cash register, with the proper money simply being charged to their Amazon account.
Amazon isn't the only company experimenting with cashless. The popular salad chain Sweetgreen announced it was going completely cash-free in late 2016, and Starbucks recently opened a cashless store in Seattle.
"Mobile payment in the U.S. has grown to over 30% of total tender," Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a call with investors on Thursday. "The ubiquity of mobile and credit card payment is enabling us to begin an exploration of cashless stores in the US."
Maya Mikhailov, the CMO of retail app developer GPShopper, told Business Insider that quick-service restaurants and other chains, such as Sweetgreen and Starbucks, are set to lead the way in the revolution against cash. Going cashless can speed up service, dissuade theft, and allow companies to gather more information on shoppers by linking them to digital loyalty programs.
Roughly 75% of respondents in an online poll conducted by CivicScience in January said that a restaurant going cashless would either not impact how often they visited, or convince them to visit more. Only 15% said they would stop going to the restaurant if it no longer accepted cash.
Mikhailov points out that the percentage of the US that is unbanked is declining. What's more, she said that the rise of cashlessness will force companies to find solutions for the unbanked.
Fintech startups are already attempting to address unbanked communities in developing countries. With cashless retailers on the rise, the opportunity to find fixes for unbanked Americans also grows.