CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina lawmakers introduced a bill that would require all retail businesses across the state to accept cash payments.
House Bill 20, known as the "Cash Commitment Act," states "every consumer has the right to use cash" at all retail businesses that accept in-person payments. HB20 was filed by a group of Republicans from across the state.
The move comes as more businesses are doing away with cash and only accepting credit cards or mobile payments. HB20 would also make it illegal to charge cash-paying customers a higher price compared to those who use a credit or debit card.
In the proposed bill, businesses that refuse to accept cash could face a $2,500 fine for the first violation and $5,000 for any subsequent violations. The bill does allow businesses to refuse payments made with $100 bills.
A recent Pew Research poll found that 4 in 10 Americans don't use cash. The bill is still a long shot to pass, but the proposed idea is already a reality in some places. Local governments in San Francisco and Philadelphia already require businesses to accept cash.
Carolina Representative Brenden Jones said cashless businesses discriminate against people who don’t have a credit card or bank account. That’s why he introduced the Cash Commitment Act last week. Jones provided WCNC Charlotte with the following statement:
“Business practice across the United States has evolved to such a degree that bank and credit cards are almost totally replacing the use of cash as our primary form of payment. Further still, we are witnessing some retail businesses adopt an almost cashless transactions model. While this new trend might work well for the more financially privileged or up to date, it absolutely discriminates against whole portions of North Carolina citizens who have not embraced or do not have access to credit cards or banks in general. The North Carolina citizens, which cashless systems discriminate against, are overwhelmingly represented in our rural counties and neglected urban centers. Pull a dollar out and you will see that the US Treasury clearly lays out the parameters of the bill by printing directly on the front, “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.” Why should we allow some institutions to disregard these parameters and turn away our citizens based on how they choose to spend their hard-earned incomes? Every North Carolina citizen should have the option to pay for critical goods and services in cash, and not be at the mercy of private banks or retail businesses”
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