Cash-less? Cash only? You’ve got to be crazy to reject any form of payment

New Jersey just banned businesses from not accepting cash. But this is not a legal issue its about customer service

This week, the state of New Jersey passed a law banning businesses with the exception of parking lots, car rental companies and a few others from not accepting cash. The move, which follows a comparable law recently enacted in nearby Philadelphia (Massachusetts has had similar legislation in place 1978) has sparked a debate.

Is this fair? Is this discriminatory? Is this anti-business? Oh please. To me, the law doesnt go far enough.

If youre a supporter of cash-less stores youre probably a chain store like Sweetgreen or a disruptor like Amazon. These companies argue that cashless stores are safer for employees, provide a quicker and more seamless experience for their customers, and encourage more productivity and better accounting. Theyre probably right about that.

Theyre also probably correct when they say that most of their customers prefer not to use cash because the use of mobile and credit card payments is so popular. Of course, Sweetgreen, Amazon and others like them have their reasons. Amazon, for example, is launching a chain of self-serve grocery stores across the country where all transactions are done via a mobile app so the company has an obvious reason to fight this kind of legislation.

Opponents argue that cash-less stores are a form of discrimination. Many people dont have access to consumer credit and any effort by retail establishments to ban the use of cash is discriminatory towards those people, the Democratic New Jersey state assemblyman Paul Moriarty said in a New York Daily News report, which also cited a 2017 FDIC survey which found that 6.5% of all US households did not have an account at a banking institution and that black and Latino households were among the most affected.

Unfortunately, these laws arent going far enough. Why?

What about those silly small business owners that only take cash or wont accept credit cards for small purchases? I have personally walked out of restaurants and left products on store counters because they refused to accept my preferred form of payment. What, are these people independently wealthy?

They say its to minimize their credit card fees. I say its also because theyre monkeying around with their taxes. Whatever the reason, theyre stupidly losing revenue. Go ahead, charge me extra if I use a credit card. But dont let me walk away without buying anything, dummy!

Accepting cash or not accepting cash isnt a legislative issue. Its a customer service issue. Maybe Amazon and Sweetgreen can afford to turn away customers that dont have credit cards or a smartphone but most businesses I know cant.

The smartest clients I work with accept any form of payment possible cash, credit, euros, wampum, bitcoin (not recommended), a chicken, a firstborn child whatever the customer wants to use as payment is fine by them. They dont turn away customers because they prefer to use a credit card. And they wouldnt withhold a sale because a customer only has cash.

If legislatures in New Jersey, Philadelphia and other places around the country really want to do a service they should pass laws that ban businesses who dont accept all forms of payment. Except, of course, a first-born child. Did I really need to say that?

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