Woolworths is expanding trials of its cashless stores, with nine locations in Sydney and Melbourne now shirking paper notes and dollar coins.
As of October 12, three of the supermarket giant’s Metro stores will go cashless, in addition to six that have been cash-free since July.
In Victoria, the Yarraville and Caulfield North stores are joining the trial, along with one in Roseberry, New South Wales.
Already, two stores in Melbourne’s CBD are completely cashless, as are four stores in Sydney.
Of course, not everyone is happy with the whole idea, with some Twitter users calling for a Woolworths boycott.
Some called the move discriminatory towards those who still primarily use cash. Others theorised that the business would track or even sell their purchase data.
Well you wont see me shop there again! Well done Woolworths….
— Martin Logan (@martinlogan88) October 1, 2020
However, a Woolworths spokesperson stressed that all its larger stores continue to accept cash and card payments, as do the majority of its Metro stores.
The mix of cash and card payment availability is based on customer preference, and stores typically also offer both traditional and self-service checkout options.
“As more and more customers choose to pay with cards, we’re trialling all electronic payments in a small selection of Metro stores which currently see very few cash transactions,” the spokesperson told SmartCompany.
“We understand cash remains an important payment option for many of our customers and it continues to be offered in all Woolworths supermarkets and the majority of our Metro stores.
“We will closely monitor the feedback from our customers during this trial.”
The move comes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to drive take-up of contactless payments. While many small businesses have gone card-only, both Coles and Woolies increased their upper limit for contactless payment to $200, in a bid to encourage the most hygienic payment habits.
In fact, back in April the Australian Payments Network also confirmed the payment industry more broadly would support an increased limit of $200 for contactless payments.
Originally, the new limit was implemented for three months, to be extended as required.
“The increased limit is a pragmatic and important response to a changing environment,” Australian Payments Network chief Andy White said at the time.
“Consumers are tending to buy more, less often.
“The new $200 contactless limit will mean fewer consumers need to touch the payment terminal.”