What to Know
- The New York City Council held a hearing last week on a bill that proposes prohibiting stores and restaurants from refusing cash.
- Now that the bill has been heard, it will go through a finalizing stage.
- A similar bill has already been passed in New Jersey.
Supporters of a new bill want to make sure New Yorkers are able to keep paying cash at their local stores.
The New York City Council held a hearing last week on the bill that proposes to ban stores and restaurants from refusing cash.
The legislation is in response to a push for cashlessness across the city and the nation. Backers of the bill argue that by refusing cash, these establishments discriminate against the poor, victims of domestic violence, homeless people and undocumented immigrants—all of whom are more likely to be unbanked.
“Given the sheer prevalence of unbanked people, I worry deeply about the cashless economy,” said New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres, who introduced the bill. “Not everyone has access to debit or credit, but everyone has access to cash.”
Now that the bill has been heard, it will go through a finalizing stage. As a similar bill has already been passed in New Jersey, Torres said he feels good about his bill’s chances.
“I’m confident that the bill is going to be passed by midyear."
New York cashless restaurants include Dig Inn, Union Square Hospitality Group restaurants and sweetgreen.
“On average, cash management takes two hours a day in each store, regardless of the amount of cash — that’s a big chunk of time, especially given how few cash transactions we do in our stores,” said sweetgreen in a press release. “We believe going cashless is a win-win-win.”
“I just want to be clear that I am by no means an enemy of tech progress—the purpose here is to balance tech progress with equity, privacy and consumer choice,” Torres said. “There’s a growing recognition we have to create an economy that works for all of us.”