State and Local Governments Seek to Curtail Cashless Movement

Dec 19, 2018 | News

New Jersey might soon become the second state to ban cashless stores after the state’s Senate Commerce Committee voted unanimously in favor of a bill that would require businesses to accept cash. Massachusetts is currently the only state to ban cashless stores when it passed legislation back in 1978.

The New Jersey bill, A-591, states, “A person selling or offering for sale goods or services at retail shall not require a buyer to pay using credit or to prohibit cash as payment in order to purchase the goods or services.” The state Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of a similar version of the bill in June.

Assemblyman Paul Moriarty who sponsored the bill argued that cashless stores discriminate against those who do not have consumer credit. “Many people do not have access to consumer credit, and any effort by retail establishments to ban the use of cash would be discriminatory towards those people,” said Moriarty. “The U.S. dollar is legal tender and should be accepted at any retail establishment in New Jersey.”

According to Pew, lower-income adults are more likely to use cash when buying goods or services. Only 18 percent of those who make less than $30 thousand annually do not use cash compared to 41 percent of those who make more than $75 thousand. Still, the cashless movement is growing quickly. The number of Americans who do not use cash grew from 24 percent in 2015 to 29 percent in 2018, and companies are taking note.

A number of firms have already built cashless, or even cashierless, stores. Amazon for instance, has built cashierless stores in Washington State and plans to open 3,000 cashierless stores by 2021.

As cashless stores become more prevalent, more states and cities are expected to pass laws or regulations that would halt this movement. Currently, Philadelphia and New York City are also considering legislation that would ban cashless businesses.

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