cash

Are you a cash or a credit person? Increasingly, today’s consumers are answering the latter.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Americans are less reliant on paper bills and coins, according to Pew Research Center survey released in December. The survey of 10,683 U.S. adults found that 29 percent said they made no purchases using cash during a typical week, up from 24 percent in 2015. Likewise, those who made all or almost all of their weekly purchases with cash dropped from 24 percent in 2015 to 18 percent today, according to the survey.

In the heads of the Philadelphia City Council, perhaps the pendulum is swinging a bit too fall in favor of plastic. Nowadays, when you can pay with PayPal, swipe, tap, Venmo, Apple Pay, or Google Money, it’s easy to understand why you might dislike the carrying of paper money. The fact is, however, that six percent of Philadelphians don’t have a bank account (or, hence, a debit card), meaning that they are essentially discriminated against at establishments that have gone “cashless.”

Locally, these these places include salad chain Sweetgreen and Bluestone Lane, a coffee shop. It’s not hard to figure out the appeal for businesses, since going cashless means a greatly-lessened chance of being robbed, either in a stick-up or by internal theft, and it makes bookkeeping much easier on a store level.

The city council’s Committee on Law and Government will hold a public hearing on the subject at 10am tomorrow morning, so now is your time to make your voice heard if you have strong opinions either way. The results of the hearing will determine whether the matter advances to the whole city council for possible advancement.

The potential proposal would stop retail locations from declining cash as payment, or from penalizing cash-paying customers with higher prices. The bill as written would obviously not apply to transactions made by phone, mail, or online. Those who defy the law could be fined up to $2,000.

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