LA Explores Cash-Friendly Laws to Improve Inclusivity
Will the City of Angels become the latest US jurisdiction to introduce legal protection for the right to pay cash? A motion to ban cashless-only retail on the basis of its exclusionary nature is currently under consideration.
In a press release introducing the motion, Councilwoman Heather Hutt of Los Angeles’ 10th District points to the clash of ‘empowering all residents to participate in economic development’ while simultaneously closing doors to the ‘millions of Americans unable to obtain bank accounts or denied access to credit.’ She also argues that refusing cash payments ‘excludes low-income communities of colour, young people who do not meet the age qualifications for credit or debit cards, and seniors who have not transitioned to card or digital payment modes.’
The motion calls on the City Attorney to prepare an ordinance that would ban cashless retail businesses in Los Angeles, following the lead of fellow Californian city San Francisco, which also cited the need to offer cash as a payment option to improve inclusivity.
Cashless businesses create an economy in our City that is not inclusive and accessible for all people. There are many unbanked groups, including BIPOC and low income communities, that rely on cash to pay for goods and services. As a City that has promised to be a safe and fair place for all, we must be proactive in ensuring that all our systems create fairness and equity for each and every individual.
It is already unlawful for retailers not to accept cash in states including Arizona, Colorado, District of Columbia, Michigan, Mississippi and New York, and cities such as Washington D.C., Chicago and Philadelphia. A bipartisan bill was also reintroduced to the US Senate in July of this year, aiming to prohibit businesses nationwide from refusing cash payments, or charging a higher price to use cash.