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."
The image has been shared by thousands of Facebook and Twitter users, some of whom associated the elimination of cash with a "surveillance society."
"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."
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.