Apple’s Cashless iPad Purchase Policy Surprises Many

Update: In a recent turn of events, Apple has now reversed the no-cash policy. As many of our readers are aware, Apple’s retail environment has typically been unfriendly towards cash transactions, especially concerning the iPad and iPhone, which require a credit or debit card for purchase. However, alternatives do exist, such as purchasing an iPad with cash at Best Buy or using a gift card for an iPhone purchase, though not for the iPad.

Apple’s insistence on plastic payments is partly due to the difficulty in enforcing a limit on the number of devices per customer without a way to track purchases, but this policy has been a source of frustration for some.

The frustration has recently escalated, as highlighted in a blog post by David Gewirtz at ZDnet, who vehemently criticizes Apple’s cash rejection policy after a KGO-TV story reported on Diane Campbell’s unsuccessful attempt to buy an iPad with cash.

Gewirtz’s fiery commentary describes Apple’s policy as “a direct insult to hardworking Americans and our way of life,” labeling the tech giant as “dangerous” and “discriminatory.” Despite his strong words, it’s important to note that Apple’s policy has been consistently applied to all customers, which makes the term ‘discriminatory’ somewhat questionable. Gewirtz also uses terms like “elitist” and “dangerous,” suggesting that “Apple has crossed the line this time,” although there are still ways to purchase an iPad with cash or check, such as going to Best Buy or having a friend use their credit card.

While Gewirtz points to cash as “legal tender,” it’s worth mentioning that there is no legal mandate requiring businesses to accept specific payment methods (imagine trying to pay a plumber in coins). His moral outrage doesn’t seem to consider the security risks for Apple Store employees if they were to handle large sums of cash daily, despite the fact that they are already targets for thieves.

Despite the unfortunate outcome of Ms.

Campbell’s attempt to purchase an iPad, the broader trend of cashless transactions is not new, as seen in various sectors including airplanes and city offices. A simple solution could have been for the reporter or a quick-thinking Apple Store manager to offer to make the credit card transaction on Ms. Campbell’s behalf in exchange for her cash, thus avoiding this public relations issue.

[Hat tip to Shawn King]

Photo remixed from / CC BY 2.0


Brian is a dedicated writer for TUAW, where he shares his insights and expertise on all things Apple. With a deep love for technology, Brian covers a wide range of topics, from the latest iPhone and iPad releases to the intricacies of macOS and Apple Watch features. His clear and engaging writing style makes complex tech topics accessible to all readers. Brian’s enthusiasm for Apple products shines through in every article he writes.