The claim: Starbucks is going cashless
Last month, claims that Starbucks stores were eliminating cash transactions stoked fierce opposition and drew calls to "#BoycottStarbucks" from some social media users in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Ireland and Canada.
The posts about the supposedly new policy usually contained a photo of a sign inside a Starbucks store.
“We’re going cashless,” the sign reads in printed capital letters. “From 1st October 2022, we will only be accepting card, contactless & Starbucks reward payments. Please ask our team for further details."
An Aug. 30 Facebook post, which was shared more than 300 times in less than 48 hours, warns others to fight against those "pushing this agenda":
BOYCOTT STARBUCKS AGAIN FOLKS! Last time was because they decided to not support our military, this time they are going CASHLESS! Cash is legal tender in USA! We do not shop where they do not accept CASH! Do not support those that are pushing this agenda! You know where it leads. They want to own you! Please fight back for America!
But the sign in the image, likely taken at a single Starbucks franchise in the U.K., doesn't reflect company policy, the retailer told USA TODAY.
"Starbucks has no plans to go cashless across our U.K., U.S. or Canada stores," a spokesperson for the company told USA TODAY. "We want to shut down any inaccuracies or further speculation on this matter."
USA TODAY reached out to several users who shared the claim for comment.
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Starbucks is not going cashless in the U.S., company told USA TODAY
The image of the "We're Going Cashless" sign went viral in several different countries. However, the earliest post of the photo that USA TODAY found was about a Starbucks in the U.K. It was posted by @bobittwit, and according to the caption, the photo was taken inside a Starbucks store in Durham, England.
A photo of a similar sign at a Starbucks location in Bradford, England, also appeared on social media on Aug. 29, the Bradford Telegraph and Argus reported.
On Aug. 30, Starbucks U.K. released a statement in response to the reports. It said some franchise owners may choose to go cashless, but the majority of Starbucks locations in the U.K. were accepting cash and the company had no plans to stop accepting it.
Online misinformation has prompted calls for boycotts of Starbucks before.
In 2004, a series of emails spread the false claim that Marines serving in Iraq had asked Starbucks to send free coffee and the company refused.
In 2017, critics decried Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz for pledging to hire refugees, arguing the company, which has a history of supporting U.S. troops, should hire veterans instead, according to The Seattle Times.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Starbucks is going cashless in the U.S. The company told USA TODAY that it had "no plans to go cashless across our U.K., U.S. or Canada stores."
Our fact-check sources:
Starbucks, Aug. 30, Email exchange with USA TODAY
Starbucks UK, Aug. 30, Tweet
@bobittwit, Aug. 29, Tweet
@bobittwit, Aug. 29, Tweet
Bradford Telegraph and Argus, Aug. 30, People protest as some Starbucks outlets to go cashless
Seattle Times, Feb. 2, 2017, Veterans at Starbucks respond to call for boycott over hiring refugees
New York Times, Dec. 26, 2004, OPENERS: SUITS; Cup of Coffee, Grain of Salt
USA TODAY, July 27, 2020, Fact check: A cashless society isn't imminent and wouldn't mean total end of cash
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: False claim that Starbucks is going cashless