Philadelphia has passed a law requiring most retail businesses to accept cash, making it the first US city to ban a practitioner saying it is discriminatory.
Mayor Jim Kenney last week signed the law, commissioned by the City Council in February, banning shops and restaurants from implementing cashless policies. It comes into effect on July 1, and business owners who fail to do so will receive fines of up to $ 2,000. But opponents say cashless businesses exclude people who are "unbanked" or those who lack control or savings accounts. In 2017, 8.4 million US households were unbanked, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
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Philadelphia advisor Bill Greenlee, a co-sponsor of the bill, said the new law restores the right of anyone with money to do business in stores.
"I can go into a coffee shop opposite the town hall that is cashless and get my coffee and muffin, but the person behind me who has American currency can't get the same cup of coffee. It's a justice problem creates a us-and-them type of situation, "he said.
Greenlee claims that businesses have long operated efficiently while accepting money. "We don't ask them to do anything they don't know how to do. They accepted money before."
Amazon is not satisfied
There is no federal law that requires businesses to accept money; Around the country, only Massachusetts has a law on the books that require shops to accept greenbacks. But concerns about cashless sellers are growing, with similar assumptions suggested in New Jersey and New York, as well as Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
The problem is also sparkling pushback from none other than Amazon. The e-commerce giant last month threatened to scrap plans to open brick-and-mortar Go shops in Philadelphia over the proposed law – which has since gone. The sockets have no cashier and only accept digital payment options enabled by sensors and automation software.
It is unclear whether Amazon is exempted under the new restrictions in Philadelphia. An Amazon spokesman declined comment.
Other cashless dealers who may not feel the brotherly love of the new law include the Sweetgreen and Bluestone Lane coffee shop salad bars – which will be forced to accept money if they want to be in the business locally.
The Philadelphia Act does not cover transactions that take place in parking lots and garages, or companies operating through a membership model. Greenlee said the city is open to working with businesses worried about the regulations.
Nevertheless, he is ready to say that the purpose of the new law is to protect ordinary philanthropists. "Our priority must be the people who live here now, who paid taxes."