New York City Council has voted to ban cashless stores and restaurants, arguing that they discriminate against the unbanked, according to CNN.
The council voted to pass a bill requiring brick and mortar outlets in the city to accept US bills and coins or face fines of up to $1000 for a first violation and $1500 for further incidents.
Mayor Bill De Blasio is expected to sign the bill, his office told CNN.
Cash usage is on the wane in many areas as Americans increasingly use cards and mobile payment options such as Apple Pay at the point-of-sale. This has prompted some businesses to ban cash, which is expensive to handle, outright.
However, there has been a pushback against the trend, with opponents arguing that it discriminate against the unbanked, poorer members of society that do not have access to credit cards or bank accounts.
A 2015 Urban Institute study found that almost 40% of the city’s households were „unbanked” or „underbanked” — meaning they have no bank accounts or use alternative financial services — increasing their reliance on cash. That percentage is higher outside of Manhattan, where large swathes of the city have few banking services.
New York is following in the footsteps of Philadelphia and San Francisco, while moves are also underway to outlaw cashless stores in Washington and Chicago.
New York City Council member Ritchie Torres, says: „No longer in NYC will brick-and-mortar businesses have the right to refuse cash and effectively discriminate against customers who lack access to credit and debit.
„The City of New York cannot allow the digital economy to leave behind the 25 percent of New Yorkers who are chronically unbanked and underbanked. The marketplace of the future must accommodate the needs of vulnerable New Yorkers.”
„Though Libra has met with fierce resistance from central banks and supervisory authorities and might never see the light of day, in many other cases tech firms (both start-ups and established big players) have successfully captured bits and pieces of universal banks’ traditional value chain. This trend may only intensify in the coming years. In this environment, European banks remain squeezed.”