Finally, some good news for ATM operators. The U.S. Senate has introduced a new bill that would require most retail businesses to accept cash. The bill, S.4145, which is sponsored by Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Sen. Robert Menendez(D-NJ) continues strong bipartisan support for the measure that began in the U.S. House of Representatives with 43 co-sponsors from both side of the aisle for H.R.2650. Both Cramer and Menendez are on the powerful Senate Banking Committee.
S.4145 largely follows similar measures that prohibit the denial of cash that have recently been passed in New Jersey, Philadelphia, New York City and San Francisco. If signed into law, the bill would supersede local and state statutes and make cash acceptance a national policy.
As sponsors of the bill and similar local measures have pointed out, roughly 20% of U.S. households have limited or no access to checking or savings accounts. While an estimated 6% of the population are entirely “unbanked.” That number, experts fear, will rise as the full economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis continues to emerge over the coming months and years.
Those businesses that refuse to accept cash, post signs stating that cash will not be accepted, or charge a high price for cash transactions will face fines of up to $2,500 for the first violation and $5,000 for the second. “While I fully understand that businesses have expanded their contactless payment options during the pandemic, refusing cash discriminates against certain populations and denies people equal access to the same goods or services,” Menendez said in a statement.
Initially spearheaded by the National ATM Council (NAC), the effort has since gained support from the recently organized Consumer Choice in Payment Coalition (CCPC), which includes NAC and AMOA as well as other stakeholders in the ATM and cash handling industries. Learn more at www.cash-choice.org.