A new law passed in New Jersey requires stores and restaurants to accept cash for in-person purchases.
Retailers can still require electronic payment for online, mail and phone sales.
Supporters of the law say requiring electronic payment is classist, as it excludes customers without access to banks or credit cards. According to NJ.com, in 2017, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) found that 6.5% of U.S. households did not have a bank account.
“Many people don’t have access to consumer credit, and any effort by retail establishments to ban the use of cash is discriminatory towards those people,” said N.J. State Assemblyman Paul Moriarty.
Critics of the law, like The New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA), argue that going cashless is a business owner’s right.
“Today’s signing removes a business owner’s right to freely determine how they would like to receive payment for their products and services,” said Michael Wallace, NJBIA vice president of government affairs. “The preference for retailers to run a cashless business is often based on efficiencies and, in some cases, as a safety measure.”
New Jersey is not the first state to ban cashless stores. Massachusetts banned them back in 1978 with a law that says retailers cannot “discriminate against a cash buyer by requiring the use of credit.”