Bill 1281-A, "prohibiting food stores and retail establishments from refusing to accept payment in cash", was first introduced in November 2018 by Councilman Ritchie Torres in response to concerns for inclusion. Read more
Since the vast majority of the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing voted in favor of the bill on Thursday, the mayor has until February 22nd to sign the bill into law or veto the bill and take no action. If signed, the pro-cash bill becomes law 90 days later, if not, the Council will reconsider the bill and have the opportunity to override the Mayor's veto with a two-thirds majority vote. Once passed, the bill becomes a law as it is added to the New York City Administrative Code.
"Whatever your reasons, consumers should have the power to choose their preferred method of payment,"
This means that food and retail establishments in New York city must ensure that they are able to accept cash payments from customers or face up to $1,000 fine for the first offense, and up to $1,500 for the second. There are exceptions, however. Businesses will be allowed to refuse cash if it is in denominations over $20 and for purchases conducted over the phone, mail or online - but when it comes to in-person shopping, businesses can only go "cashless" if they also provide a pre-paid card system that meets certain requirements.
Other cities in the United States of America that have also passed similar pro-cash laws include San Fransisco in California and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. Massachusetts and New Jersey are the only states to have banned discrimination against cash-paying consumers, however, two new laws are currently under consideration to protect cash access across the country.