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Crime Deterrent Or Inconvenience? Coffee Shop Goes Cashless

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- After being robbed a handful of times in the past few months, one Baltimore coffee shop is no longer accepting cash to stop the robberies and keep their staff safe.

Nowadays, many people don't carry cash in their wallets day-to-day, and at Park Cafe in Bolton Hill, cash payments are no longer on the menu.

"We're not going to accept cash anymore," said Park Cafe & Coffee owner David Hart. "I'm going to take that out of the equation."

Park Cafe was robbed five times from October to January. While the armed suspect is now behind bars, those crimes pushed Hart to ditch the cash drawer altogether.

Most patrons are on board.

"I would say virtually 90 percent of them have said, 'Listen, you needed to do what you needed to do to protect yourself and protect your staff. We will continue to support you,'" said Hart.

Hart said cash normally makes up 22 percent of Park Cafe's revenue, but so far, they haven't seen any change in their income since going cashless.

The coffee shop is working with a church and local pharmacy to find solutions for customers who only carry cash.

Although Park Cafe is card-only for safety reasons, cash use is on the decline nationwide, with only 10 percent of Americans now using cash only.

62 percent of people predict the U.S. will be a cashless society in their lifetime.

But there are two sides to this, as not everyone carries cards.

"I don't use cards. I've seen too many of my friends that have lost everything they had with credit cards," said one Baltimore resident.

"My mom, she doesn't use plastic," said Bolton Hill resident Lenora Lewis. "She still writes checks, still do cash."

Loyola assistant professor J.P. Krahel tells WJZ's Devin Bartolotta that a cashless society could leave some behind.

"The problem is, going cashless tends to benefit the wealthier members of society and tends to hurt the poorer ones," said Krahel.

But for this Baltimore business, cash is taking a back seat to safety.

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