Amazon Go - the future of retail?

All finance at the consumer level is private. Your bank is privately owned, as is the credit card company, the merchant bank, and unless you’re paying the DMV or buying booze at a state that only allows state stores to sell it, the store you’re paying too.

Yeah, but the Fed is still controlling it all, at least on the bank side.

The problem with a cashless system is you are at the mercy of big tech and the bank. I choice to use a credit card, and I have the privilege of having one, but not everyone is in the same position. Some people can’t or won’t use a bank, and they will permanently be locked out of the system. And the free market has no solution and doesn’t care, because they aren’t customers.

And then there is the costs. Bank Fees and credit card fees. Your money is tied to an institution.

Again, I’m not against going to a cashless society but I am against it being a completely private system, rather than a public system. A public option is necessary, especially if we want to bring the old and the poor along with us.

You can use Apple and Android Pay with a debit card, no need for credit. Many credit cards have no fees.

Of course you do indeed need to have a relationship with a bank to do that, and that is indeed regressive.

And the next step is company script to be used at the company store.

We are already on the path to brand new Gilded Age, and this is just one more step in that direction I guess.

Only if you are a naive consumer. My banks pay me to use them.

I see your point though, and that is why I don’t see us going cashless anytime soon. We aren’t even close at this point, so banning Amazon Go seems outrageous to me. Plus the idea of banning a few stores because some people can’t or won’t adopt it seems strange. As pointed out above, cash is in no danger of going away. It will still always be accepted at 99.9% of places for years.

Point still stands, cashless system has way more benefits than cash. I would be more concerned carrying around a wallet full of cash than I would a few credit cards and my phone. I would argue, it’s more naive to use cash if you don’t have to.

In San Francisco (SoMa), there is a fabulous burger & sandwich place on 3rd street (near Bryant) called Garaje – they’ve been there for awhile. It’s easy to miss. They’re cash only, and they are totally worth putting up with it.

In an astounding technological feat, they put an ATM right in the restaurant.

It’s the only place I use cash outside of tipping.

That’s what the cannibas stores do here. It’s still a hassle. I surely would make an exception for a really good place, but I know I would go there less just because it is cash only, ATM or not.

I’m weird though, I don’t carry a wallet, I track 100% of my spending, and I want to earn interest/reward points. Paying with cash I lose money and it just makes anything a hassle. In my view a business should be going out of their way to let me give them money, that’s why I mainly go to stores that take Apple Pay. Which unsurprisingly, are usually the better stores anyway.

I didn’t know that. But the vendor would still have to pay some sort of transaction fee to… the bank? Apple? One of the multiple intermediaries? Just curious how low you could get that fee down for the vendor.

The bank that issued the card gets the biggest chunk, then Visa (etc), then the vendors bank, and in the case of Apple/Android, they get a few cents.

I think it’s around 2% right now, but changes depending on card, bank, etc. I know American Express charges a lot more, so less places take them.

Consumer credit in nearly all its current forms is a scam that should be burned to the ground. Credit cards most of all. That shit as it stands should be illegal tomorrow, but we can’t even get rid of payday loans so sucks to be anything south of upper middle class I guess.

Debit does incur a transaction fee to the merchant but it’s much lower than credit cards; that’s why Apple Pay Cash, etc, forces you to use it.

Credit cards aren’t a scam at all, and neither are payday loans. What they are is usurous, in that they charge very high fees if you maintain a balance, which can lead poor people into a neverending cycle of debt. They should be more heavily regulated, not prohibited.

If you’re conscientious and pay off your debt immediately, all those people that don’t pay it off finance really good deals. For example, my main credit card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, returns roughly 4.5% when spent on travel and 3% when spent on other purchases. Cost to me is a hefty $450/year, but it includes a $300 travel credit, $100 towards global entry, and I easily come out ahead in the first month of the year. But if I didn’t pay it off, the APR is a staggering 17% or so, which is terrible.

And my other card, the Amazon Prime card, returns a flat 5% on all purchases. But it’s also a 17% APR. Great deal for me, terrible if you keep a balance.

I understand credit cards, but I rarely/never use debit cards so I didn’t get that it was usable by Apple Pay. I am curious how big a difference it is - if it’s actually low enough the small businesses that want only cash would be tempted to use it.

1% when spent on other purchases. If it was 3% I would have gotten it yesterday. For travel & dining it gives 3%. Not sure where the 4.5% is coming from? Granted you own the card, while I am just reading the advertising copy.

Yes, travel & dining, which is almost every penny I spend aside from my mortgage, housing association, and Amazon (which gets 5%).

It’s 4.5% when you book travel on their site, which is competitive with Expedia, etc. Each point is worth 1.5 cents.

For what it’s worth, I almost exclusively use my debit card and while I’ve not seen anyone accept debit and not credit, I have definitely seen people charge an extra fee specifically for credit cards (presumably the difference between fees on their end).

Some states don’t allow that.

Yeah, but mine explicitly does.

Sainsbury’s, one of the big three supermarket chains in the UK, converts a central London store to cashless/till-less.

It’s not quite the full Amazon Go set up, in that customers have to scan their own items as they go round the aisles. Which is something you can voluntarily do in a lot of supermarkets already. But this is the first to make it mandatory.

I recently saw this in Zurich as was quite impressed. When shoppers come in they pickup and remote scanner and merely scan their own items on the way through, then dock the scanner at checkout. Worked very smoothly - of course relies on a high degree of trust (or observation from distance), so maybe wouldn’t work everywhere, but I found the experience very straightforward.

It’s been standard at Waitrose (high end chain, relatively few outlets) stores here for several years now, but they still have regular (manned and self-service) checkouts as well.