Philadelphia is the first city to ban most cash-only shops and restaurants | WBNS-10TV Columbus, Ohio


Philadelphia has passed a law requiring most retail establishments to accept cash, making it the first US city to ban a discriminatory practice.

Mayor Jim Kenney signed the law last week, passed by city council in February, banning shops and restaurants from implementing cashless policies. It will come into effect on July 1 and business owners who do not comply will be fined up to $ 2,000.

Cashless policies are gaining popularity in a number of cities, with some business owners claiming that cash handling is inefficient and invites theft. But opponents say that cashless institutions exclude "unbanked" people or those who lack chequing or savings accounts. In 2017, 8.4 million US households did not have a bank account, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

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Philadelphia City Councilman Bill Greenlee, a co-sponsor of the bill, said the new law restores everyone's right with money to do business in the stores.

"I can go to a coffee shop in front of City Hall without money and get my coffee and my muffin, but the person behind me who has the US currency can not have the same cup of coffee. It's a question of fairness, it creates a-and-their kind of situation, "he said.

Greenlee argues that businesses have long worked efficiently while accepting cash. "We do not ask them to do something that they do not know how to do." They accepted the money before. "

Amazon is not happy

No federal law requires companies to accept cash; Across the country, only Massachusetts has passed a law that requires stores to accept US dollars. Still, concerns over cashless traders are increasing, with similar bans being proposed in New Jersey and New York, as well as in the cities of Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

The problem also arouses Amazon rejection reactions. Last month, the e-commerce giant threatened to scrap the bill – which was passed – to open brick and mortar stores in Philadelphia. The counters do not have cashiers and only accept digital forms of payment enabled by sensors and automation software.

It is not known if Amazon is exempted under the new restrictions in Philadelphia. A spokeswoman for Amazon declined to comment.

Other cashless retailers who may not feel the brotherly love of the new law include the Sweetgreen salad chain and the Bluestone Lane cafes – who will be forced to accept the "cash" option. money they want to stay in business locally.

The Philadelphia Act does not cover transactions in parking lots and garages or in companies operating under a membership model. Greenlee said the city was open to working with the companies concerned by the regulations.

Nevertheless, it is clear by asserting that the new law aims to protect ordinary Philadelphians. "Our priority must be the people who live here now, who paid taxes."

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