Woolworths Café going cashless

Amid consternation from South Africans on social media, Woolworths has clarified that some of its WCafé stores are experimenting with cashless payments.

The company made it clear that customers will still be able to pay for food, fashion, beauty and home purchases with cash if they choose.

South Africans took to social media this weekend after a signboard appeared at a Woolworths store saying that from 16 January, it would only accept card and digital payments. 

The signboard said, “From 16 January 2024, we will no longer accept cash, as we’ve joined a global responsible business initiative that prioritises customer and staff safety. We’re sorry for any inconvenience.”

Many on social media took this to mean that Woolworths in its entirety is going cashless as there was no clear mention that it was solely applicable to its Café stores. 

The company’s social media pages responded to confused South Africans to clarify the matter throughout the weekend. 

Daily Investor contacted Woolworths for further clarification regarding the matter. 

The retailer said the decision for its WCafés to go cashless was based on data it had collected, showing that they received relatively few cash payments. 

It said that its WCafé team would continue to monitor the progress of the shift to cashless payments over the coming months. 

Woolworths clarified that this only applies to WCafés and not Woolworths stores, which will continue to take cash payments. 

WCafé is the concessionary outlet chain that operates adjacent to or inside Woolworths stores across the country. These are coffee shops, not supermarkets. 

In the last financial year, these concessions consumed over R800 million of goods from Woolworths Food outlets.

WCafé joins global coffee giant Starbucks in no longer accepting cash payments in South Africa, with other coffee shops expected to follow suit.