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New York to ban cashless stores

New York to ban cashless stores

New York City Council has voted to ban cashless stores and restaurants, arguing that they discriminate against the unbanked.

The council voted to pass a bill requiring brick and mortar outlets in the city to accept US bills and coins or face fines of up to $1000 for a first violation and $1500 for further incidents.

Mayor Bill De Blasio is expected to sign the bill, his office told CNN.

Cash usage is on the wane in many areas as Americans increasingly use cards and mobile payment options such as Apple Pay at the point-of-sale. This has prompted some businesses to ban cash, which is expensive to handle, outright.

However, there has been a pushback against the trend, with opponents arguing that it discriminate against the unbanked, poorer members of society that do not have access to credit cards or bank accounts.

New York is following in the footsteps of Philadelphia and San Francisco, while moves are also underway to outlaw cashless stores in Washington and Chicago.

New York City Council member Ritchie Torres, says: "No longer in NYC will brick-and-mortar businesses have the right to refuse cash and effectively discriminate against customers who lack access to credit and debit.

"The City of New York cannot allow the digital economy to leave behind the 25 percent of New Yorkers who are chronically unbanked and underbanked. The marketplace of the future must accommodate the needs of vulnerable New Yorkers."

Comments: (4)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 27 January, 2020, 10:39Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Another 'one in the eye' for the card schemes (in particular Visa and Mastercard) who have used their market muscle to hoodwink regulators, bully banks, intimidate retailers and ultimately rip off consumers as they continue to flout competition laws around the world, in their quest to systematically displace every other payment mechanism. Well done New York City. And to anyone who currently works or has ever worked at Visa or Mastercard you need to know, the world hates you.  

Christopher Williams
Christopher Williams - RTpay - Winchester Uk 27 January, 2020, 11:04Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

That is a rather odd way of dealing with helping the unbanked; it seems to direct any mugger to concentrate on a group of people who have the least to lose, but the least protection at the same time.

Credit is not necessary to access funds; take refugee camps where systems are set up for iris recognition so benefits can be settled in a cashless form, as an example. 

Far better, and less discriminatory, to enable the unbanked rather than create increased risk for them; it is also a way to help them save and perhaps build a credit score for the future, rather than lock them into an ongoing precarious state.

Peter Hernberg
Peter Hernberg - Nordea Bank - Stockholm 27 January, 2020, 12:18Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Can't agree with "Another 'one in the eye' for the card schemes". This ruling doesn't have any impact on the schemes and will primarily hit those merchants that are forced to manage limited amounts of cash including the risks and costs associated with this.    

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 27 January, 2020, 18:46Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Critically important for local & state governments and consumers themselves to counter the efforts of tech companies, predatory banks, captured bank regulators, and central banks to eliminate cash to set the stage for a scenario where everyone needs a bank account, banks can charge for holding deposits, and financial transaction and holdings of financial assets are no longer private.