It’s official. On March 18, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law a bill that prohibits businesses from banning cash payments for purchases.
The new law, which passed the State Assembly on a 72-2 vote, also received overwhelming support from the state Senate with a 39-0 vote. Closely resembling a recent measure enacted by the city of Philadelphia, the new law is effective immediately. (By the way, the only other state – so far – to pass a cashless ban is Massachusetts, which enacted its measure way back in 1978.)
With its passage, the vast majority of stores in the Garden State must accept cash or face a $2,500 civil fine for the first offense and $5,000 penalty for the second. Purchases made online, by mail or via phone can still be made using a credit or debit card. However, there are “carve outs” for specific establishments, such as car rental agencies, parking garages, and some airport retailers.
“Many people don’t have access to consumer credit and any effort by retail establishments to ban the use of cash is discriminatory towards those people,” state Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, D-Gloucester, a sponsor of the measure, said in a statement.