Can a Business Refuse Your Money Because It's Old?

Local Restaurant Refused To Accept Old $5 Bill

GREENSBORO, NC- You head to your favorite fast food place, order your favorite meal and then try to pay, only for the cashier to tell you they don't accept your payment. 

It happened to a WFMY News 2 employee, who went to a local fast food chain and tried to pay with an older $5 bill. The bill wasn't torn or counterfeit, but was still denied by the cashier. Is this legal?

Turns out, yes. The fast food chain said it's against company policy to accept bills larger than $5 that are older, and the business is in their legal rights to refuse the payment. 

The United States Department of the Treasury states all U-S coins and currency are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes and dues. But, there's a catch. There's no federal law stating a private business, organization or person has to accept coins or currency as payment. 

Simply put, a private business can develop their own policy on whether or not to take cash or any type of payment. It's like a business saying they don't accept checks or American Express. 

But, a business has to make sure the customer knows the policy before they incur a debt. So, a sign must be posted or the customer must be told before they get their food. If you get a bill after you've already eaten, the restaurant may have to accept whatever form of payment you have. 

In some cases, businesses refuse to accept cash because the bills might be counterfeit. How can you tell? Check out this link. 

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