Should Retailers Be Allowed to Refuse Cash?

This question will take a little empathy because it likely doesn’t apply to many people listening to us, but it’s worth asking: Should retail stores and restaurants be allowed to refuse cash as payment? There are a growing number of retailers and restaurants that won’t accept cash – it’s pay by debit or credit card, or they don’t want your business.

A number of pro sports stadiums, including the Atlanta Falcons, won’t accept cash at all for concession purchases. It became so prevalent, and such an issue, in the State of Massachusetts and the city of Philadelphia, nicknamed the biggest poor city in the U.S., that they passed a law that retailers must accept cash as payment.

The poor and working poor, however, do not have a debit or credit card. Up to 15% of the population doesn’t even have a bank account – that’s how payday lenders get rich cashing paycheques. So they pay upwards of 10% just to get their cheques cashed, and now they’re punished even more by not being able to shop or eat at lots of places. Is that right or fair or is this a law that makes sense?

In Edmonton, the City is mulling a smartcard that can be used for public transit. It’ll encourage people to occasionally use transit without needing a bus pass. It’s really convenient and might allow any City to charge based on how long a trip actually is. But the downside is that it has to be linked to a credit card. So is this another way to leave the 15 to 20% of the population behind that doesn’t have a credit card…but are likely the highest percentage of transit users?

George Boelcke – Money Tools & Rules book – yourmoneybook.com

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