In highlighting just how difficult it will be for society to go completely cashless, this week has seen the UK report on how it cannot allow its cash infrastructure to fail and now, in a growing backlash against “cashless” stores around the USA, the City of Philadelphia has outlawed cashless stores.
Retail outlets that have stopped accepting cash say it is faster and easier for their employees to process digital payments. But critics say the practice discriminates against people without bank accounts or credit cards, or who simply prefer to pay cash.
City Councilman Bill Greenlee, a co-sponsor of the bill, said it would ensure fairness as residents complete everyday transactions.
“It just seemed to me unfair that I could walk into a coffee shop right across from City Hall, and I had a credit card and could get a cup of coffee. And the person behind me, who had United States currency, could not,” said Greenlee.
The new law, signed by Mayor Jim Kenney last week, takes effect on July 1 and could lead to fines of up to $2,000 on businesses that do not take cash.
But many transactions will be exempt, including those at parking lots and garages; businesses that sell goods through a membership model; rentals that require security deposits; online, telephone or mail-in transactions; and goods sold exclusively to employees.
The State of New Jersey and the cities of New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington are considering similar bills.
Amazon has raised concerns about the bill, Mr. Greenlee said. The online commerce giant has said it will consider opening up to 3,000 cashless stores around the country by 2021. Mr. Greenlee said he believed the law’s membership exemption would allow Amazon to operate cashless stores without a problem.
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