June 22, 2022
The House of Representatives passed Representative Don Payne’s (D-NJ) bipartisan Payment Choice Act -HR 4395 -on June 15. The legislation protects the right to pay in cash at retail establishments for transactions under $2,000. The Payne bill, which at the time of passage had 49 cosponsors, was adopted on a vote of 224 to 198.
Americans for Common Cents (ACC) supports the Payment Choice Act. ACC Executive Director Mark Weller said, “Consumers should have the choice to pay in numerous ways, be that cash, credit, debit, or point of sale swipe.” “We’ve been concerned about moves to cashless payments because that means financial and social exclusion for those who are precluded from participation in a digital society, particularly the young, elderly and minorities who use cash more frequently than individuals with higher incomes,” Weller added.
About 25% of US households are either “unbanked” or “underbanked,” typically those with low incomes who lack the minimum balance to open checking and savings accounts. Moves to cashless retail limits the places where the poor and communities of color can access goods and services.
Strong concerns about restaurants and other businesses refusing to accept cash led to the introduction of H.R. 4395. Many of these trends were exacerbated during the pandemic. This Payne legislation recognizes that cash is a public good and also the importance of ensuring its continued existence alongside electronic and innovative payment options. A link to Rep. Payne’s press release can be found here: https://payne.house.gov/media/press-releases/rep-payne-jr-s-bill-protect-cash-passes-house