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May 17, 2019

PYMNTS: Policymakers Introduce Bills To Ban Cashless Stores In US

In moves that could put a stop to cashless stores, two legislators brought bills forth in Congress to make business accept cash payments. U.S. Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) introduced a bill dubbed the Cash Always Should Be Honored (CASH) Act and U.S. Representative Donald Payne (D-NJ) introduced a bill called the Payment Choice Act, Marketwatch reported.

The Cash Always Should Be Honored (CASH) Act has brought on nine co-sponsors such as U.S. reps Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Yvette Clarke of New York and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. It would make the acceptance of cash for goods and services payments at physical stores a requirement. (But merchants would not have to take cash for transactions made via phone or online.) The Federal Trade Commission would be at the helm for enforcing the cashless store ban.

The Payment Choice Act would also prohibit businesses from not taking cash for payments. While the bill was reportedly assigned to the House Financial Services Committee, the outlet reported that the law’s text is not available publicly and that Payne’s office did not reply to comment requests.

The news comes as lawmakers in Philadelphia passed a ban on cashless stores — the first major U.S. city to reportedly do so. With the new law set to take effect in July, most retail outlets would be required to accept physical currency. New Jersey recently passed a similar measure, and, as of March, it was reported that New York City was on a path to do so as well. It was also reported that Massachusetts already requires businesses to accept cash.

Philadelphia City Councilman William Greenlee, who introduced the bill, said per the March WSJ report that he believes that the general move toward a cashless city is discriminatory toward lower-income individuals and other marginalized populations. “Most of the people who don’t have credit tend to be lower income, minority, immigrants. It just seemed to me, if not intentional, at least a form of discrimination,” he said. Now stores will be required “to do what businesses have been doing since Ben Franklin was walking the streets of Philadelphia,” he said.