Coinstar supports proposed federal law to require in-person retailers to accept cash in most situations
While some Americans prefer to make transactions using digital forms of currency, many citizens still rely on cash for a variety of reasons. To avoid disenfranchising millions of Americans who use cash to make their purchases, legislation at all levels is working to prohibit brick-and-mortar businesses from not accepting cash or not providing a method that allows these customers to exchange their cash for a card.
With over 17,000 coin-counting kiosk locations across the nation, Coinstar supports the many states and major cities that have enacted their own laws to address the issue. Fifteen states, as well as Washington D.C., Berkley, Calif., Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, all have current laws that prohibit cashless policies.
There is currently a federal bill that has been drafted that would prohibit certain retail businesses from refusing cash payments if it is passed. HR 4395 – also known as the “Payment Choice Act of 2021” – was originally introduced last summer but has yet to be voted on.
A few of the bill’s provisions include:
- Persons and businesses selling goods or services at retail to the public who accept in-person payments must accept cash as a form of payment for sales made in amounts less than $2,000.
- Retailers can’t charge a higher price to those paying with cash.
- Provides exceptions for retailers who are unable to accept cash due to a “sale system failure,” and those that provide an on-premises device that converts cash into pre-paid cards.
“When a retailer refuses to accept cash – and provides no in-store method for customers to exchange cash for alternate forms of currency – that establishment is essentially discriminating against the segment of society who are underbanked and unbanked and rely on cash to pay for goods and services that are often essential,” said CEO Kevin McColly. “Requiring cashless transactions can contribute to social and economic inequality. That’s why we support all legislation that benefits and protects cash users.”
Accepting cash is important to both consumers and businesses for a variety of reasons:
- According to Morning Consult, many Americans who use cash are younger, have low incomes, or are from minority backgrounds. In some cases, cash is the only form of currency to which they have access.
- In the aftermath of a natural disaster or other event that could cause widespread technical difficulties, many places may not have the capability to process digital currency and cash payments may be their only option. If that establishment had a pre-existing policy that disallows cash payments, then their personnel may not have the training – or the infrastructure may not be in place – to allow the retailer to accept cash.
- Even Americans who are fully banked may prefer to use cash due to personal preferences. Some people don’t feel comfortable using a payment method that leaves a data trail, while others believe their personal information may be compromised or possibly subject to fraud. According to The Washington Post, some large tech companies have entered into agreements that give them access to data from a large portion of debit and credit card transactions.
About Coinstar, LLC
Coinstar® is the global leader in self-service coin counting with 24,000 kiosks in North America, and Europe. More than 800 billion coins have been processed since Coinstar’s inception in the early 1990s. In the United States, consumers can convert their change to cash, a no-fee eGift card, or donate to charity at supermarket, mass merchant, drug store, and financial institution kiosk locations. Expanded cash services at Coinstar kiosks include purchasing cryptocurrencies and adding money into digital accounts. For brand advertisers, Coinstar now offers adPlanet™, which enables lead generation on the interactive kiosk screen and a flexible digital advertising platform that sits atop Coinstar kiosks at select grocery locations. For more information on Coinstar or kiosk locations, visit www.coinstar.com.