Is Starbucks Going Cashless in UK, US, and Canada?

A picture of a sign taken inside a Starbucks store read, "We're Going Cashless." A closer look hinted that there was more to the story.

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A rumor said Starbucks was going cashless in the UK US and Canada but was false.
Image via Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Claim

Starbucks is going cashless in the U.K., U.S., and Canada.

Rating

Mostly False
Mostly False
About this rating
Context

An apparently small minority of Starbucks stores in the U.K. displayed signs indicating they would be going cashless. The company said that these select stores were “operated alongside various licensee business partners.” However, the company also told us that it had “no plans” to establish a universal policy that would make all of its U.K., U.S., and Canadian stores cashless.

In or around August 2022, a rumor began spreading on social media that the Starbucks coffee company had announced plans to go cashless in the U.K., U.S., and Canada. However, this was far from the truth.

The rumor primarily spread on Facebook and Twitter with a photograph of a sign that was captured inside a Starbucks store in the U.K. The sign read, “We’re going cashless. From 1st October 2022 we will only be accepting card, contactless & Starbucks Rewards payments. Please ask our team for further details.”

The bottom of the picture showed a second sign that displayed the words, “Questions about allergens or calories?” Squint a bit at that second sign and you’ll notice that it ended with a website address: “starbucks.co.uk/nutrition.” The “.co.uk” confirmed that this photo was shot in the U.K.

On Aug. 30, The Telegraph & Argus reported that one Starbucks location in the city of Bradford had displayed one of the signs.

Starbucks U.K. addressed the rumor on Twitter, saying that the company “has no plans to go cashless” in the country. At the same time, they hinted that a minority of stores that are “operated alongside various licensee business partners” may choose to go cashless, as seen in the viral picture.

Meanwhile, a tweet from the Starbucks Care account also debunked the rumor that its stores would be going cashless in the U.S. and Canada.

The bottom of the “How to Pay at Starbucks” page read, “Cash is always an option too.”

We contacted Starbucks PR to learn more and were provided with a statement that echoed all of the above information. A company spokesperson told us, “Starbucks has no plans to go cashless across our U.K., U.S. or Canada stores and we want to shut down any inaccuracies or further speculation on this matter.”

A fact check from The Associated Press also debunked the Starbucks cashless rumor.

Whether or not Starbucks does opt to update any of its payment options in the future, the truth at the end of August 2022 was that the company appeared to have no plans to establish a cashless policy anytime soon.

Sources:

Ames, Daryl. “People Take to Social Media to Protest Some Starbucks Outlets Going Cashless.” The Telegraph and Argus, 30 Aug. 2022, https://thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/.

Goldin, Melissa. “Not All UK Starbucks Locations Are Going Cashless.” AP News, 31 Aug. 2022, https://apnews.com/article/fact-check-starbucks-cashless-uk-495031939316.