San Francisco supervisors have approved to ban cashless retail stores, to stop the discrimination of low-income consumers who do not have credit cards.
Temporary pop-up stores, online retail businesses, food trucks would be exempt from the legislation as they lack the resources to handle cash.
With this move, the City and County of San Francisco will join Philadelphia and New Jersey in banning cashless retail practices. The bill was introduced by Supervisor Vallie Brown.
Brown said: “I just felt it wasn’t fair that if someone wanted to buy a sandwich in a store and they had cash, that they would be turned away. We also have our homeless population – they’re not banked.”
According to a 2005 study commissioned by the city, 17%of African-American and 15% Latino households in the city do not own a bank account
The new legislation seeks to ensure all residents of San Francisco are able to participate in the city’s economic life. The ability to purchase goods and services is considered to be a key aspect of such participation. The supervisors said that the practice of refusing cash payments systematically excludes segments of the population that are largely low-income people.
A 2018 Federal Reserve study also noted that cash is still used in roughly 30% of all transactions in the US.