In an effort not disenfranchise any consumer, Philadelphia became the first U.S city to ban cashless stores, including restaurants.
Philadelphia isn’t the only place that outlawed cashless businesses. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a similar ban into law on March 18.
Even at a time when society continues to pay for more goods and services with digital wallets and credit cards, these places believe their laws are necessary to protect cash-paying customers, who either do not have credit cards, have access to them, or want to protect the privacy of their purchases.
Why States and Cities Are Passing These Laws
Government officials have said that banning the use of cash discriminates those who do not have access to credit cards, such as low-income individuals. Also, legislators believe that consumers should have many ways to pay, including cash.
What Critics Are Saying
Chambers of commerce, retail organizations, and merchants are against these laws. They believe states are going against the trend toward digital payments, therefore, impeding efficiency. Many also believes that cashless businesses protect from robberies.
Background on Current Laws
Earlier this year, New Jersey’s Assembly and Senate passed a bill preventing businesses from banning consumers from using cash for purchases. When the governor signed A591, into law, New Jersey became the second state in the nation to protect cash-paying customers who make purchases at bricks-and-mortar stores. The law does not impact mail, telephone, and online sales. Car-rental companies and municipal parking lots also are exempt.
Those who violate New Jersey’s law may have to pay $2,500 for a first offense and $5,000 for a second offense.
New Jersey is similar to a law in Massachusetts, and New York City is considering a proposal to prevent retailers and restaurants from banning the use of cash. Individuals states can only prohibit businesses from banning the use of cash for purchases. However, there is no federal law that requires a business to accept cash.
Will Other Locales Follow?
Legislation outlawing merchants that refuse to accept cash has been introduced in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Chicago. As more places look into these laws, expect there to be more push back from groups and businesses.
Though this is expected, it seems odd for merchants not to offer customers all ways to pay. Some have said going cashless allowed their employees to be more attentive to customers, prevented mistakes when giving change, and deterred robbers.
Despite these reasons, other merchants have said accepting cash will not have any major impact on their bottom lines. People who want to pay with credit or debit cards will continue to do so, and those who don’t will have the option of paying with cash. Most have said their moves to go cashless were more due staying on trend with what consumers seemed to want than anything else.
New Jersey and Philadelphia are making this move to ensure all customers, including those who may not qualify for credit cards, to buy goods and services wherever they choose. This move ensures customer satisfaction, and likely won’t have any negative impact on business revenues.
Apply for Credit Card Processing
If you are business that wants to accept debit and credit cards in addition to cash, then consider applying for processing with merchant service provider, eMerchantBroker.com (EMB). It offers a quick, simple online application process.