This Legislation Could Force Stores to Take Your Cash

Shops and eating places in a number of states could be required to do one thing fairly fundamental if sure lawmakers have their manner: settle for their clients’ money.

The laws comes amid a worldwide transfer towards cashless funds utilizing playing cards or cell units, which supporters say are safer, faster and extra handy. However critics say an outright ban on money discriminates in opposition to these with out credit score or financial institution accounts, and raises considerations about privateness and information safety.

The New Jersey Legislature and the Philadelphia Metropolis Council have handed measures this 12 months that will ban cashless shops. New York Metropolis, Washington, San Francisco and Chicago are weighing comparable payments.

“It’s necessary to acknowledge the truth that not everybody has entry to banks or strains of credit score,” mentioned State Senator Nellie Pou, one of many sponsors of the invoice in New Jersey.

Stephanie Martz, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Retail Federation, argued that businesses should be able to decide themselves how to operate.

But she added that only a “handful” of businesses were experimenting with cashless payment, and that the vast majority of small purchases were still made in cash.

“We don’t see that going away anytime soon,” she said.

Around the world, some countries have outpaced the United States in developing and instituting electronic payment technologies. Sweden has perhaps moved fastest toward a cashless society, with some officials now trying to pull the reins on a process that could upend the role of the state as sovereign guarantor.

In China, many consumers use their mobile devices to pay for goods and services through WeChat and Alipay. Even some street musicians use QR codes to collect money from passers-by.

The South Korean central bank has called for a “cashless society” by next year. And India has heavily promoted cashless transactions — even banning large bills — as Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to root out corruption and achieve his vision of a “digital India.” But most Indians continue to use cash.

Credit card companies and banks, of course, have championed the greater use of cashless payments. In an article for The Guardian last year, Brett Scott, a British activist and author, argued that the seemingly “obvious and natural” evolution toward cash-free payments was “the direct result of a hegemonic project on the part of financial institutions.”

“The true motive is corporate profit,” he wrote.

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