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Choice Matters – US senators propose bill requiring retail to accept cash during pandemic

Jul 17, 2020

In response to retailers and digital payment providers exploiting unfounded fears among the population about using cash during Covid-19, thereby promoting their own business, two U.S. Senators have proposed a bill that could forbid merchants to ban cash transactions during the pandemic period.

Pre-Coronavirus, New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Massachusetts had already passed corresponding legislation on a state level.

Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota submitted the bipartisan bill, known as The Payment Choice Act. Retailers that operate a contactless-only service or charge a fee for cash transactions during Covid-19 would be fined up to $2,500 for their first offence and $5,000 for a second.

“While I fully understand that businesses have expanded their contactless payment options during the pandemic, refusing cash discriminates against certain populations and denies people equal access to the same goods or services.”
"Robert MenendezSenator for New Jersey (D-N.J)

The fines are expected to deter merchants who infringe their consumers’ freedom of choice and to protect the 22% of the adult US population who are either unbanked on underbanked. The bill indirectly once again confirms the fact that cash is safe to use in times of Covid-19.

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Last Updated: Jul 17, 2020

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