NYC pushes for federal plan for all businesses to accept cash

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nosheep | Pixnio

Jessica Taft

New York City is pushing for cash to regain traction as an accepted form of payment in order to account for the population without bank accounts.

Amid the pandemic, many businesses have opted to “ban” cash payments in an effort to minimize contact and risks of contracting COVID-19. While this situation has increased the number of businesses going cashless, the transition away from cash has been happening for years.

Logging and depositing cash creates more work for business owners, as does verifying the legitimacy of bills. In contrast, emerging forms of credit and debit cards have become popular. However, while going cashless, businesses have refused service to people that lack access to bank accounts, chiefly including underserved Americans.

Erica Ford, the CEO of Life Camp Inc., reached out to the city’s congressional delegation in an effort to implement a law that would require cashless businesses to accept paper currency.

According to Ford and other advocates for the cause, cashless businesses discriminate against the part of the population that does not have access to bank accounts, such as undocumented immigrants. In New York, one out of nine New York households are without a bank account, according to New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs.

The National Retail Federation, a trade group that represents stores all around the world, opposes banning cashless businesses. According to the NRF’s President Stuart Appelbaum, it’s the businesses’ right to decide what kind of currency they do or don’t accept since it directly affects them and their business’ operations.

In addition to the right of businesses, Appelbaum drew attention to the exemption of entirely online businesses to the proposed bill. As it is right now, there is a clear divide between the rights of consumers and the rights of businesses, causing lawmakers to try and establish a fair middle ground.

Over this last year alone, the nation has seen many changes in technology and the economy together. With health and financial concerns being a major focus, businesses all around the country are divided in establishing their currency rules.