American financial services executives have warned Congress that the recent trend of businesses going cashless is harmful and discriminatory, and risks ‘devastating results’ as the country’s economy begins its recovery.
Four groups—the ATM Industry Association, the Cash Transportation Association, Davis Bancorp and the Independent Armored Car Operators Association—wrote a joint letter to governmental leaders urging them to support legislation that will preserve cash and payment choice.
The authors note that, as the nation continues to tackle COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, increasing numbers of businesses are refusing cash. This follows a letter sent in March by J.R. Davis, President of Davis Bancorp, that highlights official transmission guidance saying cash is safe, pointing out there is no scientific reason for ‘disenfranchising and discriminating against millions of citizens’.
The virus spreads primarily from person to person and cash poses the same or less risk than plastic/card payments. There is no scientific basis for new concern about the safety of cash.
Legislation that protects the right to pay cash already exists in Massachusetts and New Jersey, and at city level in New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco, with Washington D.C. looking likely to follow suit. While the nationwide extension of such laws is being considered, many feel the government is taking too long to deliberate while cashless policies are already doing damage.
These recent efforts follow concerns raised in February, when seven members of Congress addressed a letter to President Biden requesting he task his economic team with ensuring the rights of consumers to pay for goods and services with cash were fully protected.
Although 25 percent of Americans rely on cash to complete daily transactions, and over 50 million Americans have little to no access to formal banking channels, efforts to ban and discourage cash are mounting.