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San Francisco says no to cashless society

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors has passed an ordinance banning shops from preventing customers paying in cash, reflecting a broader push to retain cash payment options.


San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors has passed an ordinance banning permanent bricks-and-mortar stores from preventing customers paying in cash.


“Residents who rely on cash are unjustly excluded from participating in our city economy,” Supervisor Vallie Brown, sponsor of the ordinance, is quoted as saying. “The legislation will go far in ensuring that all San Franciscans have equitable access to the city’s economy.”


‘Not fair’


The order, which must also pass a second vote next week, will mean businesses must give customers the ability to pay in cash alongside credit card and mobile payment options. Further, they won’t be able to charge a fee or place any other conditions on cash payments.


”We also have our homeless population. They’re not banked.“


“I just felt it wasn’t fair that if someone wanted to buy a sandwich in a store, and they had cash, that they would be turned away,“ Brown told the Associated Press. ”We also have our homeless population. They’re not banked.“


Pop-up stores, food vans and mobile services companies like Uber and Lyft will be exempt from the rule.


A growing trend


Philadelphia and New Jersey have passed similar laws.


Reports also say that Amazon’s latest high-tech Go store in New York will be the first to accept cash. Amazon said it will begin accepting cash at its other Go stores "over time."


The moves reflect a growing push-back against a completely cashless society.


Last year, an interim report from the Access to Cash Review concluded that millions of consumers across the UK could be left behind if the transition to a cashless society isn’t managed properly.


The report found that despite the increasing use of cards and electronic payments, eight million people (17 per cent of the UK population) say cash is still an economic necessity.


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