Cash? How Old-Fashioned!


Retailers, as well as consumers, seem to be quickly moving to a cash-free form of commerce. By this we mean that instead of paying in bills and coins, more consumers are easily paying for purchases with credit cards, debit cards, or via an app. There are a lot of benefits for businesses to go cash-free. In fact, some retailers are phasing out the use of cash entirely in favor of cards.

One such business is Sweetgreen – a restaurant chain with 48 locations across the U.S. Several of its locations stopped accepting cash in January, but according to the company’s owners, barely any customers even noticed. The company had recognized that cash purchases had declined to less than 10% of total purchases and took action to eliminate the cash, and speed up the ordering and service process.

This is happening not just at U.S. retailers and restaurants, but also in other countries. In Sweden, only 2% of the country’s economy is represented by bills and coins. And, this year, compared to the average of 75% cash payments in the rest of the world, only 20% of all consumer payments in Sweden have been made by cash. Even the Abba Museum (which launched the 1970s hit song “Money, Money, Money” no longer accepts cash.

What’s in your wallet?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
1. Poll students: who uses cash, cards, apps, and in what amounts? Where are they likely to use each form?
2. What are the concerns and issues with no longer using cash?
3. Check out Sweetgreen’s Web site:
4. Why does cashless work for this company?
5. What are the advantages and disadvantages with no longer using cash?
6. What are actions that retailers should take in regards to going cashless?
7. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a business and then develop a marketing plan to feature the cash-free transaction as a positive message.

Source: New York Times

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