Is the end of cash near?

Grand Banks has its covid-era system down: scan the QR code on your table, order on the site, pay with your credit card and then all the servers have to do is bring out the food and drink. The idea, of course, is to limit the exposure servers have to you and your dining partners, but it also means that it’s getting harder to spend cash these days. Lekka Burger is entirely coded, and at Khe-Yo and Weather Up, you  Venmo your bartender his tip — there’s no jar. (Bubby’s is just using the QR code to replace a paper menu.)

Whole Foods is making announcements over its loudspeaker that is is no longer taking cash, though customer service told me the Warren Street cashiers numbers 6 and 7 are open for cash purchases. (Also, ICYMI, Whole Foods is now open again for its regular hours: 7a to 11p. Wednesdays and Fridays from 7 to 8 are reserved for seniors.)

So all this while the city is in the process of banning cashless stores; the City Council passed the legislation in January and it should take effect in October or so. But that now seems like an unlikely outcome? Our world is only getting more and more digital.

Of course New Yorkers are also chronically underbanked and depend on cash transactions. Nearly 12 percent of city residents do not have a bank account, compared to 7 percent nationwide.




  1. Whole Foods also put in self check out machines…

  2. So will grocery prices go down, since presumably self-checkout machines reduces operating overhead of a supermarket (while also presumably laying off more workers at a time with massive unemployment already)?

  3. Grand Banks is terrific! Love their tables on the pier also!

  4. This has provided inspiration–Although our museum ship LILAC is still closed, we’ll put out a donation collection jar on Pier 25 when crew are working on board to accept any cash you can’t spend elsewhere. Contactless cash contributions! (Yes, we will disinfect the container, etc.) Lilac Preservation Project is a 501c3 non-profit. Help keep us afloat.