Prohibition of Cashless Establishments
Rule status: Adopted
Effective date: October 8, 2020
Proposed Rule Full Text
Adopted Rule Full Text
Adopted rule summary:
The Department is adding new rules to implement LL 34 of 2020, which prohibits food stores and retail establishments from refusing to accept payment in cash and further prohibits food stores and retail establishments from charging a higher price to consumers who pay for commodities with cash, rather than through a cashless transaction. The intent of LL 34 is to ensure that all New Yorkers, including those who are unbanked or underbanked, can make retail and food purchases using cash.
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To Whom It May Concern:
I support this new rule because no-cash businesses discriminate against poor and working-class people who are disproportionately Black and brown, and who face barriers to obtaining credit cards (just as they do home loans, etc). These no-cash establishments also discriminate against computer unsavvy people, who are disproportionately older and maybe with certain disabilities, for whom navigating the various electronic payment methods is a great barrier. I’m not opposed in general to moving toward different systems of payment, but they must be equitable in their access.
This is an important rule. Not all people have access to banks or lines of credits, and no one should be punished for that lack of access. Cashless business or business that charge a higher price to pay with cash have a disparately negative impact on poor people and people of color. That is not acceptable.
Lastly, I will end with an anecdote to remind all of us to stay humble. My first year living in New York, I lost my wallet in an uber. This had all my identification, debit and credit cards inside and suddenly I was unbanked. It can and probably will happen to any one of us. As I wondered around the Lower East Side, I came to a small business selling drinks and small foodstuffs, I waited in line and ordered and was told that they did not take cash. It was embarrassing but also frightful as I realized that although I was thirsty, hungry and had adequate legal tender I was denied access to a fair transaction. As a side note, many businesses require purchase of something to even use the restroom and so I was denied access to necessities in the blink of an eye. It could have been anyone of us and that’s not right.
Please see the attached testimony in support of the proposed rule change. Thanks!
Director of Public Policy
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, RWDSU