Three more stores will be added to Woolworths’ trial of cashless Metro stores on October 12. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Jeremy Piper
Three more stores will be added to Woolworths’ trial of cashless Metro stores on October 12. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Jeremy Piper

Woolworths’ radical move in store

Woolworths will expand its trial of cashless Metro stores in Sydney and Melbourne over the coming weeks, creating nine stores that will no longer accept physical money.

The trial is intended to help customers at CBD locations get in and out of the store fast, with more Australians turning away from cash.

But some customers have rubbished the move, with one claiming online they travelled to three different stores in Sydney before they were able to buy something with case.

Metro stores on Bourke St and Elizabeth St in Melbourne, and North Sydney, Manly and York St in Sydney already don't accept cash, and the same will be rolled out for the stores in Yarraville and Caulfield North in Melbourne and Roseberry in Sydney on October 12.

A spokeswoman for Woolworths said feedback would be "closely monitored" during the trial, but noted a majority of customers had welcomed the change.

 

Shoppers at a Woolworths Metro store in York St, Sydney, where there is a cashless shopping trial. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Jeremy Piper
Shoppers at a Woolworths Metro store in York St, Sydney, where there is a cashless shopping trial. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Jeremy Piper

"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," she said.

"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."

Woolworths has also mixed up the number of cash and card-only self-service machines available in its stores, with fewer cash-accepting machines available where the majority of its customers use card payments to pay for their shop.

While all stores apart from the nine Metro stores have a cash option, some stores will have a smaller number of machines that accept cash than others.

The Reserve Bank's 2019 Consumer Payments Survey showed the share of payments made in cash fell to 27 per cent, as opposed to 70 per cent in the 2007 survey, and 37 per cent in 2016.

Greengrocer Harris Farm scrapped all cash payments in March in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and many smaller stores like cafes and corner stores also began rejecting cash - though it is not known if these measures are permanent.

According to the RBA, high cash users are more likely to be older, have a lower household income, live in a regional area and have limited internet access.

According to the consumer payments survey, one-quarter of consumers would face major inconvenience or genuine hardship if they could no longer use cash.

Originally published as Woolworths' radical move in store



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