Local Starbucks store not accepting cash in pilot program

SEATTLE — Next time you want your caffeine, cash won't do you any good at one Seattle Starbucks.

Starting today the Starbucks inside the Russell Investment Center in Downtown Seattle, is only accepting cards and/or pay-by-phone from customers.

Starbucks told KIRO 7 they picked the location inside the Russell Investment Center to test out the idea, and get feedback from customers.

On Tuesday, KIRO 7's John Knicely spoke to some regular customers, including one who welcomed the idea.

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"I don't carry cash anymore either. It's just easier, card and all the receipts, are in on place. I know how much I spent," Starbucks customer Ambarish De said.

However, other regular 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.

Robert Safian, editor of Fast Company, told KIRO 7's John Knicley the cashless wave will only grow. "The reason is it's easier. It's easier for retailers and easier for us as consumers."

However, Safian also cautioned that a pay-by-phone system specifically comes with some privacy issues.

"If you're paying for everything with your phone as opposed to with cash, you can be tracked. And there is the fear of electronic fraud," Safian said.

Starbucks is also using the pilot program to receive feedback from employees, and it is unlikely the company is phasing out baristas.

In a recent interview on CNBC, executive chairman Howard Shultz said, "I don't see a day where AI or robotics is going to replace the humanity of Starbucks."