San Francisco officials voted Tuesday to require brick-and-mortar retailers accept cash for goods as payment, joining Philadelphia and New Jersey in banning a growing cashless system that discriminates against low-income people who may not have access to credit cards. Cashless systems can be used to control people and their finances.
San Francisco officials voted Tuesday to require brick-and-mortar
retailers to take cash as payment, joining Philadelphia and New Jersey
in banning a growing paperless practice that critics say discriminates against low-income people who may not have access to credit cards.
The vote by the Board of Supervisors was unanimous.
Vallie Brown, who introduced the legislation, said it “will go far in
ensuring all San Franciscans have equitable access to the city’s
Brown said she thought it unfair that someone couldn’t
buy a sandwich just because they had cash. She said young people,
victims of ID theft, immigrants and homeless people are among those who
don’t have bank accounts or credit cards.
In many ways, the
legislation was an easy call for San Francisco officials, who strive to
make life more equitable in a city with an enormous wealth gap.
tech workers who flocked to San Francisco to work for Facebook, Google,
Uber and Airbnb may like the ease of paying by credit card, debit card
But many low-income people, including more than
4,000 who sleep on San Francisco’s streets every night, likely don’t
have money to sustain bank accounts.
According to the Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation, 17 percent of African American households
and 15 percent of Latino households had no bank account.
people also prefer to use cash because they don’t want to leave a
digital trail of where they have been and what they have bought.
Francisco’s legislation requires brick-and-mortar businesses to accept
cash for goods and some services. Temporary pop-up stores and
internet-only businesses such as ride-hailing companies would be exempt,
as would food trucks, which say they lack the resources to handle cash.
and New Jersey passed similar laws this year. Legislation requiring
merchants to accept cash also has been introduced in New York City.
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