How Long Before We Become A Cashless Society?
Based on where we are now, it is not hard to see we are almost there. Not so fast! This month (Feb 2019) New Jersey’s legislature passed a bill requiring merchants to accept cash at the point of sale. Several big cities, including New York, are considering similar measures. The Philadelphia City Council on Thursday (2/14/19) passed an ordinance that would prohibit most stores from refusing to accept cash or charging cash-paying customers a higher price, according to Philly.com, a news site affiliated with The Philadelphia Inquirer.
New Jersey’s legislature this month passed a bill requiring merchants to accept cash at the point of sale, and several big cities, including New York, are considering similar measures. But does cash really need legal protection from payment cards and mobile wallets?
That’s the question public officials as well as executives in the retailing, ATM, and other sectors of the payments industry are considering. Opponents of cashless stores say businesses that require customers to use credit or debit cards or mobile payments are shutting out consumers who may not have access to those payment forms.
A report released Thursday by a New York City Council committee says 11.7% of the city’s households are unbanked compared with 7.7% for the U.S., and 25.1% of city households are underbanked versus the nation’s 20%.
“Retailers are not going cashless,” J. Craig Shearman, vice president for government affairs public relations at the Washington-based trade group, tells Digital Transactions News by email. “The retail industry as a whole welcomes cash and most likely will for years to come. The examples of retailers turning down cash are very few and isolated, and usually involve specific circumstances.” But Bruce Wayne Renard, executive director of The National ATM Council Inc., says the Jacksonville, Fla.-based trade group of ATM deploys and suppliers supports the recent city proposals.
Although the effort to ban retailers from refusing cash seems firm, debit cards and credit cards at many retailers are a preferred method due to security concerns and speed at check-out among other reasons.
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