Woolworths faces backlash as more stores go cashless

Backlash over Woolworths’ controversial move to go completely cashless at select stores has escalated as more stores set about trialling the new payment system.

Nine Metro stores in Sydney and Melbourne are still trialling cashless payments, which began in October last year.

Six are in Sydney, including the Roseberry Metro, Bourke Street Metro, North Sydney Metro, York Street Metro, George Street Metro and Manly Metro stores.

The three in Melbourne are the Caulfield North Metro, Yarraville Metro and Ascot Vale Metro stores.

Woolworths shop front.
Woolworths has 12 Metro stores trialling cashless payments from next week. Source: Getty Images

From Monday next week, an additional three Metro stores will go completely cashless, including the first store for Queensland.

The Metro at the MetCentre and the Metro in Central Park, both in the Sydney CBD, will begin the trial on January 25, as well as Metro Teneriffe in Brisbane.

The cashless Metro stores make up just 11 per cent of the 81 Metro stores in the network, Woolworths said.

“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,” a spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.

“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 are closely monitoring the feedback from our customers during this trial.”

Woolworths customers angry at no cash option

Cashless payments in the select stores have caused considerable uproar, with customers complaining it unfairly disadvantages vulnerable members of the community

“Won’t obliterating it [cash payments] altogether unfairly further marginalise some communities (eg. rough sleepers, homeless, sex workers) from accessing essentials?” one Twitter user said.

Flyer inside a Metro store stating cashless payments only will commence January 25.
Backlash escalated when a Woolworths shopper shared this image to social media. Source: Twitter/mrbenjaminlaw

“How will Grandparents give the classic gift of cash in a card? ... How are buskers and homeless going to make a buck on the streets? Kids with pocket money wanting to spend at the shop? No Woolies, this isn’t progress for good reason,” another wrote.

“Cash is much better for those budgeting. Until the last year, my parents always took a certain amount of money for the fortnight out of the ATM/bank and that was their grocery budget for the fortnight,” someone else said.

One of the original locations to trial cashless payments, the Woolworths Metro on Elizabeth Street in the Sydney CBD, reinstated cash payments this week.

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