Securing Access: San Francisco Bans Cashless Stores Under New Law

Published on
June 21, 2019
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San Francisco, home to major technology, fintech and payment companies, and start-ups, has become the third city or state in the United States to ban cashless stores. The city Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in May to approve the measure to stop businesses refusing cash payments.

Cashless stores often discriminate against those members of society who fall in the lower-income bracket and may not be able to attain credit or debit cards. According to a 2017 report by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., 6.5% of US households are unbanked. There are also vulnerable members of the community, such as the elderly who rely more heavily on cash. Cash is declining on a global scale; however, it is still a dominant payment instrument for many communities and individuals in the US. The bill states the purpose of this law is that all residents of San Francisco can participate in all areas of economic life by using cash to pay for goods and services.

Temporary pop-up stores, ride-share companies, online businesses, and food trucks will be exempt from this law as they say that they do not have the resources available to accept cash payments.

The move comes after laws banning cashless stores in Philadelphia and New Jersey were passed earlier this year, and similar legislation has been introduced into New York City.

This is another key step in the move to protecting access to cash in the US - and will hopefully prompt similar laws to be passed across the globe.

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