The NYC City Council just passed a new law today (Thursday, January 23) that forces brick-and-mortar businesses to accept cash.
This means that no store or restaurant can be debit or credit card only (or, “cashless”), which has become increasingly common in our high-tech world. The Mayor has 30 days to sign the bill, and if he doesn’t sign, it will become law after another 30 days.
The bill was introduced by Council Member Ritchie J. Torres. He said, “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.”
Still, there are some exceptions to the bill. Food and retail establishments do not have to accept bills in denominations of greater than $20, and transactions that are completely online, by phone or mail are not affected.
Apparently if a business refuses to accept cash, they will be susceptible to a $1,000 fine for the first time and $1,500 for every time after that.
The effective date is 270 days after it becomes law, so it won’t officially go into effect until November 2020.
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