As contactless payments gain traction during the Covid-19 pandemic, a group of vendors, trade associations and consumer groups in the US have banded together to fight for the right to pay by cash.
Data from Mastercard and Visa suggests that around the world contactless payments have surged in popularity during the coronavirus crisis, while in the UK ATM withdrawals have plummeted by 60%.
The pandemic has accelerated a trend towards card and mobile payments that was already well established, prompting concerns among many that more vulnerable members of society could be locked out of the system if cash began to disappear.
Made up of vendors such as Diebold, associations like the National ATM Council, and advocacy groups including The Consumer Federation of America, the new Consumer Choice in Payment Coalition (CCPC) says it will to advocate for the continued availability of cash as a payment option for consumers throughout the US.
Top of its agenda is supporting passage of the Payment Choice Act of 2019, a bipartisan bill that would maintain nationwide acceptance of cash payments for consumer purchases of goods and services at brick-and-mortar retail outlets.
The coalition claims that cash payments have widespread public support, citing recent moves by the state of New Jersey, and major cities including New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, to enact laws requiring retail providers of goods and services to maintain a cash payment option.
The CCPC also insists that scientific literature shows that cash is as safe as card payments - so long as standard public health recommendations about washing hands and not touching one's face are followed.