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San Francisco to mandate that businesses accept cash

New Jersey and Philadelphia already have similar laws in place

Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

San Francisco is poised to reportedly require all businesses to accept cash as payment.

What's the story?

San Francisco lawmakers argue that refusing to accept cash can cause unnecessary hardship for those who don't have credit cards, including the poor and the homeless.

"I just felt it wasn't fair that if someone wanted to buy a sandwich in a store, and they had cash, that they would be turned away," Supervisor Vallie Brown said, according to The Associated Press. "We also have our homeless population. They're not banked."

The legislation would only apply to businesses with brick-and-mortar locations. Ride sharing services, food trucks, online business, and pop-up stores would all be exempt.

The legislation is expected to be approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, since every member of the board is either its sponsor or its co-sponsor.

While some businesses are sticking to their cashless policies while they still can, others are changing ahead of the laws. Amazon initially refused to accept cash in its brick-and-mortar stores, but now says it plans to change that policy at locations across the country.

Wait...isn't this already the law?

No. According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, there is "no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person, or an organization must accept currency or coins as payment for goods or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether to accept cash unless there is a state law which says otherwise."

Both Philadelphia and New Jersey have already put similar laws in place this year, requiring establishments to accept cash. A bill prohibiting retailers from refusing to accept cash is also being considered by the New York City Council.

One last thing…
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