Cashless supermarket claim has no currency
A Facebook post has claimed Woolworths stores have stopped accepting cash – and suggested Anthony Albanese’s rise to power may have something to do with it.
The claim is false. The supermarket told AAP FactCheck that stores continue to accept cash. A photo used in the post dates back to 2020 when Woolworths ran a trial of cashless stores in a select number of Metro outlets. The trial came to an end in March 2021 with cash reinstated at all stores.
Diane Demetre, who ran unsuccessfully for the Liberal Democrat Party in the federal seat of Moncrieff, posted the claim on her Facebook (archived here) and Twitter page.
Published on May 26, she said: “Labor government sworn in Monday. Cashless society begins today (Thursday) with Woolworths stores refusing to accept or give out cash. It won’t be easy under Albanese!”
The post has been circulated by other Facebook users, including Damien Richardson who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate.
The post contains an image of a sign notifying of payment changes at a Metro store. “We have made some changes to the way you can pay in this store,” it reads. “Payments can now only be made by card. We no longer accept cash payments or offer cash at our facilities.”
However, a reverse image search reveals the photo was originally posted to the internet in July 2020. The earliest example of the photo appeared in a 7news article on July 7, 2020.
A Woolworths spokeswoman told AAP FactCheck that the sign is not current and is likely from a trial Woolworths conducted of electronic-only payments at a select number of Metro locations in 2020.
The trials were ceased in March 2021 and Woolworths said all stores in the trial reverted back to accepting cash payments.
“Cash remains an important payment option for many of our customers and will continue to be offered as a payment form in our stores,” she said in an email.
She added that the stores selected for the trial were chosen because they were experiencing limited cash transactions.
The 7news article from July 2020 reported the trial involved 11 Metro CBD stores in Melbourne and Sydney.
Fears that governments and other international agencies are attempting to implement a ‘cashless society‘ have gained traction in recent years.
The pros and cons of moving to a less cash-based society have been fiercely debated, with proponents citing the benefits of convenience and stamping out tax evasion and money laundering.
However, critics argue these benefits are outweighed by the potential risks to individual privacy and surveillance, and could further marginalise people in precarious financial positions who have a greater dependence on cash.
The claim that Woolworths stores have stopped accepting and giving out cash as of May 26 is false. Woolworths confirmed cash remains a form of payment in its stores. A photo accompanying the post appears to be from a cashless trial across several Metro stores in 2020.
False – The claim is inaccurate.
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