New Jersey just stopped the move toward cashless commerce in the Garden State dead in its tracks.
Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday signed a bill into law requiring most stores and restaurants in the state to accept cash at their brick-and-mortar locations, making New Jersey only the second state to bar businesses from refusing to accept legal tender.
Businesses like cashless payments for the ease of transaction, but experts say cashless businesses disenfranchise consumers who can’t access bank or credit cards.
“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 main sponsor of the measure, said in a statement.
In fact, a national FDIC survey found 6.5 percent of all U.S. households did not have an account at a banking institution in 2017. The percentages are much higher for black households (16.9 percent) and Latino households (14 percent).
The ban applies to in-person sales only. Merchants can still require electronic payments for web, mail or phone orders. Additionally, car rental companies, parking garages and some airport retail shops are excluded. It takes effect immediately.
The New Jersey Business and Industry Association criticized the new law, saying it would “stifle innovation.”
“Today’s signing removes a business owners’ right to freely determine how they would like to receive payment for their products and services. The preference for retailers to run a cashless business is often based on efficiencies and, in some cases, as a safety measure,” said Michael Wallace, NJBIA’s vice president of government Affairs.