Cities and states across the U.S. are taking steps to halt the movement towards a cashless society. According to reports, New Jersey and Philadelphia joined Massachusetts, who has a 1978 law prohibiting discrimination against cash users, in the fight against cashless retail. Proponents of the bills argue that cashless stores discriminate against the underbanked and poorer members of society that do not have access to credit cards or bank accounts.
In addition to possible discrimination issues, cash is still a favored payment options for U.S. consumers, according to the Federal Reserve. In a recent statement ATM Industry Association CEO Mike Lee asked, “Why decrease freedom of choice for citizens in a free market democracy?”
Retailers and merchants who do lean toward the cashless trend stand to alienate a large portion of their customers:
Unbanked & Low-Income Consumers. Many U.S. citizens are still unaffiliated with a bank or credit union. Whether by choice, geographic location or socioeconomic factors, approximately 14 million Americans deal solely in cash. While the number is at a record low, it is still a significant portion of consumers who would be unable to purchase goods or services in a cashless society.
Young Shoppers. Since most credit cards have age limits and some type of income requirement, businesses that push for cashless payments stand to lose a fair number of customers – and profit – based on the age of their shoppers. Debit cards limit younger shoppers as well, since parents must cosign an account for driving age students, and anyone under the age of 15 is banned from opening a checking account – leaving children who’ve received cash gifts or mow lawns for pocket money unable to make purchases of any kind.
Customers with Privacy Concerns. Many Americans use cash for small purchases and/or sensitive transactions. It is unsettling for some to think every purchase is being tracked and monitored. In addition, Americans have suffered through several security breaches at large corporations leaving consumers understandably hesitant to share their digital information
Every U.S. bank note is printed with the words: This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private. In a society that limits the use of cash, this would make those words meaningless… and would lock out a number of consumers from making purchases.
To offer customers the freedom pf payment choice and easy cash access, consider placing an ATM in your location. For placement options, contact BFC today.