Starbucks Tests Out Cash-Free Location

Jan 18, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Cash no longer is king at the Starbucks inside downtown Seattle‘s Russell Investment Center: Starting today, the store only accepts cards or mobile-pay, although there is no sign formally announcing the policy.

“The test will help us understand how cashless forms of payment may impact our customer experience,” a Starbucks spokeswoman told the Seattle Times. The Russell Investment Center store is currently the only Starbucks to go cashless, although the company hasn’t specified how long the test will run, nor if it will be expanded to other locations. 

The second-floor cafe shares space in the same corporate building with real estate brand Zillow as well as Russell, an international financial firm.

“I would expect in that location that cash represents only a tiny percentage of business anyhow,” Jonathan Zhang, a University of Washington marketing professor who consults with retailers on e-commerce and mobile payments, told the Seattle Times. Zhang speculates that Starbucks is “not giving up much” by going cashless — maybe 5 percent or less of total transaction volume — because the location’s clientele is predominantly white-collar workers who tend to use plastic.

Thus far, customer reactions have been mixed.

“I don’t carry cash anymore either. It’s just easier, card and all the receipts, are in one place. I know how much I spent,” Starbucks customer Ambarish De told local news station KIRO 7.

However, other customers were wary of the idea.

“I think it’s kind of limiting. It’s assuming everyone is going to be using a smartphone or a credit card. Not everyone is on board with that,” Starbucks customer Sean Smith said.

The tip jar by the Russell Center sales register, however, will still happily accept your bills.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.