In this increasingly digital world and corporate push towards digital-paperless transactions such as billings, payments and so on, it seems cash itself is under threat.
Quite a number of stores are going “cashless”, but while many perceive that as progress, it has also resulted in a backlash. The concern is that such operations, including some major chains, would be discriminating against people who have cash, but don’t have access to credit.
In Canada the Human Rights Act states that businesses cannot discriminate and deny access to goods or the basis of race, creed, colour, religion, age, etc. However, there is nothing about discrimination based on payment. It is in fact not a contravention of any law for a Canadian business to refuse payment with cash, However in the U.S., Philadelphia is the first city to ban cashless stores, New York City is working on such a ban, New Jersey banned cashless stores in that state, and Massachusetts has required stores to accept cash for decades.
An article in Forbes Magazine on March 18, noted that ten years ago, 60 per cent of transactions involved cash, now its down to about 30 percent and declining.
Advocates are now raising concerns about how the move towards cashless will negatively affect a large portion of the population of low income workers.
- Access to Cash Review (U.K.) Mar 19/19
- Blog TO: J Steinhauer: May 13/19 Cashless businesses accused of discrimination
- Associated Press (via Canadian Grocer) Olsen/Sweet: April 15/19
- Globe and Mail: S Peesker: Mar 4/19: Small business pressured to accept plastic
- CityLab: R Bellan: Mar 6.19: Cities banning cashless, NYC to follow