Woolworths has revealed it will be trialling cashless payment methods in three Metro stores as most customers opt to pay with card over bank notes.
Yahoo News Australia understands the new way to pay will be trialled in selected Metro stores only with it being rolled out at Rosebery in Sydney’s south, Caulfield North in Melbourne’s southeast and Yarraville in Melbourne’s inner west from October 12.
With cash no longer an option, customers at these stores can pay with EFTPOS and credit card.
“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 Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia in a statement.
“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.”
Dramatic fall in cash payments
A Consumer Payments Survey conducted by the Reserve Bank of Australia found consumer payments made in cash fell to 37 per cent in 2016 from 69 per cent in 2007.
In 2019, just 27 per cent were paying with cash while 63 per cent paid with debit or credit cards.
According to the report, Australian customers continued to switch from paper-based payments like cash and cheques in favour of digital payment methods.
“Many people now tap their cards, or sometimes phones, for small purchases rather than paying in cash,” the RBA report said.
“The way in which Australians are making payments is changing and new payment methods are emerging, often enabled by mobile technology.”
According to the report, people over the age of 65 are more likely to use cash than other age demographics.
“While participants aged 65 and over use cash less frequently than they used to, consumers in this demographic still made over half of their payments in cash in 2019,” the report said.
“Lower-income households also tend to pay in cash more often than households in higher-income groups.”
‘This is getting so bloody ridiculous’
The trial comes after Woolworths announced in July a completely cashless system was being rolled out across 11 Woolworths Metro stores in Melbourne and Sydney.
However the move was met with considerable controversy, with hundreds vowing to boycott the retail giant if it refused cash.
After an image of a sign in a Woolies Metro store advising customers of the change emerged on Facebook, people claimed they would lose customers.
“This is getting so bloody ridiculous,” one commented.
Woolworths said in a statement cash was accepted at all of its regular-sized stores and most of its Metro locations.
‘Absolutely disgraceful’: Latest move gets chilly reception
In reaction to the cashless direction Woolworths appears to be heading in, many customers complained about slowly being forced to use card.
“Absolutely disgraceful behaviour. Every time I use self service, I always have to wait in a queue because I like to pay with cash, and all the credit card [check out] machines are nearly always empty,” wrote one Facebook user on the Yahoo News Australia page in response to this story.
Many expressed a level of dismay at certain Woolworths supermarkets not accepting “legal tender”.
“Is it a joke? They officially in these stores do NOT accept the legal tender?” commented one man.
“Well, if they bring that nonsense to my local Woolies, I will not be shopping there any more. I still use cash for just about everything,” one woman said.
A number of other commenters also said they would shop elsewhere if they couldn’t use cash.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.