ATMIA Backs 'Cash Is Legal Tender' Drive, Bans On Cashless Retailing

Posted On: 2/25/2019

  • Printer Friendly Version
  • Decrease Text SizeIncrease Text Size
  • PDF

SIOUX FALLS, SD -- The ATM Industry Association has announced its support for initiatives to ban cashless retail businesses in New York City, Washington, DC and Philadelphia, PA. The association reports that at least two states are said to be considering similar proposals.

The rationale for outlawing stores that do not accept cash is that these outlets discriminate against poor and otherwise "unbanked" consumers. ATMIA observed that the challenge extends beyond that segment of the population. "Cashless retail severely limits consumer payment choice," said ATMIA executive director David Tente. Refusing to accept cash eliminates the favored payment method for 26% of the population, according to Federal Reserve numbers, he pointed out –"And industry data indicates that 45% of consumers prefer using cash for purchases in local retail establishments."

Even those with a vested interest in a cashless environment should take a moment to consider factors outside of payment choice, Tente added. In times of crisis – regardless of the cause – cash is often the only option. News articles will abound about the increased demand for cash and the rush to bring in mobile ATMs. Daily life, too, has its wrinkles – payment networks crash and power systems fail. The only viable back-up system under those conditions is cash.

Every U.S. banknote states that "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private." Except in narrowly-defined circumstances, refusing a cash payment should not be permitted. "Why decrease freedom of choice for citizens in a free market democracy?" asked ATMIA chief executive officer Mike Lee.

In further support of current and future legislative efforts, ATMIA plans to issue a position paper on the subject of "Cash is Legal Tender" in the coming weeks. Advocacy plans for 2019 include continued attention to emphasizing the ongoing importance of cash and its role in promoting financial inclusion.

ATMIA represents all segments of the automated teller machine industry in the United States and abroad. It is online at