For many customers, the convenience of going cashless is obvious. For businesses, it can save time and money in completing the transactions. Taking cash slows down the payment process. Many organizations are trying total cashless operations, including Amazon Go, Starbucks, and Shake Shack.
However, New Jersey, following the lead of the city of Philadelphia and the state of Massachusetts, is banning cashless restaurants. Brick-and-mortar restaurants must accept cash as payment under the new law.
Video Spotlight: The power of going cashless means real pain for some
This post is based on the Restaurant Business Online article, N.J. Becomes 2nd State to Ban Cashless Restaurants, by Peter Romeo, March 19, 2019; and the YouTube video, The power of going cashless means real pain for some, by NBC News, December 4, 2017. Image source: Getty Images
1. Why force businesses to take cash?
Guidance: Cashless business can be seen as discriminatory. To pay without cash requires a credit or debit card and/or technology such as a smart phone. This prevents many individuals in lower income levels from using cashless stores. Many lower income neighborhoods are already suffering from a lack of retail stores, and cashless stores could add to this problem.
2. Should businesses be concerned about such laws?
Guidance: Many businesses envision the new technology as a big cost-savings for their operations. Keeping cash will increase their cost.
3. Are there alternatives to laws requiring organizations to accept cash?
Guidance: The law has great appeal as it puts no burden on government to solve the problem of some groups not having access to electronic payment methods. However, why shouldn’t the government set up electronic payment methods for lower-income citizens? For example, the food stamp program has become SNAP with an EBT (electronic benefits transfer) card.