The backlash against “cashless” businesses is picking up steam. As quickly as some stadiums and entire countries are considering going “cashless,” now New Jersey is one signature away from banning cashless businesses statewide. Looking to pass a similar law not far from New Jersey is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia’s city council has also crafted a bill to ban cashless stores and restaurants. Despite being told that consumers are happy with the switch to plastic-only, many legislators are arguing that this is isolating a large portion of the population that relies on cash.
New Jersey lawmakers are moving to ensure that citizens have equal access to all goods and services. Authors of the bill argue that cash is still legal U.S. tender, and that by the simple elimination of cash acceptance, it is a form of discrimination towards those who do not have bank accounts (by choice or by force) and those who choose cash for security reasons.
The City of Philadelphia is echoing New Jersey’s sentiments, calling popular businesses like fast-casual fresh food restaurant, Sweetgreen, unacceptable. Sweetgreen is frequently found in major cities and near college campuses. This chain, and those like it, caters to a demographic that is more comfortable using plastic. The owner of Sweetgreen states that by not accepting cash, they have dramatically decreased armed robberies at their locations. In addition, he has cited a healthier staff since they no longer have to handle both money and food at the same time. While these claims may be true, the argument is that they are isolating approximately a quarter of Philadelphia’s population by simply refusing to take paper money. In 1978, Massachusetts banned cashless businesses, setting the precedent for these cities and states looking to solve the issue. Plastic certainly was not king back in 1978, but by setting that standard, it promoted equality for all citizens.
What do you think? Are convenience and speed of service more important than inclusion? What about stores that are cash-only – are they discriminatory as well? Do you think the government should have any say about what private businesses accept cash or card-only? Sound off in the comments below! We want to hear from you!