WASHINGTON, D.C. — Legislative efforts to prohibit stores from going to a cashless system reached the federal level.
On May 9, U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) introduced the Cash Always Should be Honored (CASH) Act to require retailers to accept cash payments.
"The American people want Congress to work for working people. This is a commonsense way to do that," said Cicilline, who serves as chairman of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. "Twenty-five percent of Americans don’t use credit cards. Yet, more and more businesses are refusing to serve customers who want to pay in cash. This bill will protect the economic freedom and opportunity of millions of working people."
Citing data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., 8.4 million American households do not have a bank account. An even greater number — roughly 32 million American households — don't use a credit card, according to Cicilline.
The CASH Act requires retailers to accept cash from buyers in all states. To date, Massachusetts and New Jersey have passed laws requiring businesses in their jurisdictions to accept cash. In addition, major cities like Philadelphia and San Francisco have adopted similar measures.
According to a report by MarketWatch, retailers would not be required to accept cash for transactions that were made online or by telephone. The bill also would put the Federal Trade Commission in charge of enforcing the prohibition on cashless stores.
Nine co-sponsors have signed on to Cicilline's bill.
In addition, Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.), introduced a similar bill, known as the Payment Choice Act. The measure would also prohibit retailers from refusing to accept cash payments. The measure was assigned to the House Financial Services Committee, according to the news outlet.
The legislative efforts come as more retailers, including convenience store operators, are implementing a frictionless checkout option at their stores.
Amazon's Amazon Go retail concept launched as a cashless store in January 2018 in its hometown of Seattle. However, in April the company said it would begin accepting cash payments and it debuted its first store to accept cash on May 7 in New York, as Convenience Store News previously reported.