New York City is set to ban cashless businesses after the city council voted to require stores and restaurants to accept cash.
Mayor Bill De Blasio is expected to sign the bill. Once signed, businesses would have nine months before the law takes effect.
Under the law, food and retail establishments would have to accept American bills and coins or face a fine. The law would not apply to online transactions. San Francisco and Philadelphia have passed similar laws.
A 2015 Urban Institute study found that almost 40% of the city’s households had no bank accounts or use alternative financial services. Still, some businesses opposed the bill in early hearings, saying that going cashless streamlined their operations and deterred robberies.
Businesses that still want cashless transactions can provide a machine that exchanges cash for a gift card, but must accept cash if the machine breaks down, according to the new law.
Jim Calvin, President of New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS) said he doesn’t think the law will impact many c-stores.
“In fact, I think there are probably more of them that are cash-only than ones that don’t accept cash at all,” said Calvin. “At the same time, it is curious that the same week the City Council took this action, New York State was reporting that the Thruway would soon convert to totally cashless tolling.”