Tennessee Joins States Backing Cash
Tennessee—renowned for its contributions to country music, barbecue cuisine and whiskey—now has the distinction of being the latest U.S. state to introduce legislation guarding payment choice and ensuring all businesses accept cash.
Senate Bill 1858 adds a brief but significant amendment to an existing Tennessee Code, stating that any person selling goods or services is not permitted to refuse cash in payment for them and making a business’s responsibility to ‘accept legal tender when offered’ absolutely clear. It is due to take effect on 1 July 2022.
Neighbouring Mississippi already prohibits ‘persons selling or offering for sales goods and services at retail’ from refusing to accept cash as a form of payment, thanks to the ‘Respect the Cash Act’ introduced in Senate Bill 2266, in force since 1 July 2021.
Another Tennessee neighbour—Indiana—is also set to introduce similar legislation, with House Bill 1321 in the recent 2022 Session of the Indiana General Assembly requiring all merchants ‘selling, leasing or renting goods and services to the public for a profit’ within the state to accept cash in payment. Oregon’s proposed Senate Bill 1565 would also make it illegal to refuse notes and coins.
Pro-cash legislation already exists in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. There is also bipartisan support for nationwide legislation, with reports in December noting the Payment Choice Act—which would make it illegal for retailers to reject cash for in-person, consumer transactions—has 37 co-sponsors from both the Democrat and Republican parties.