March 8, 2019


Gizmodo: Philadelphia Just Banned Most Cashless Stores, a First for a U.S. City

The city of Philadelphia just passed a ban on “cashless stores”. Retailers in the city must accept cash. Exceptions to this law include stores with a membership (i.e. Costco), parking areas, hotels and other venues which require a large deposit. While I don’t live in Philly, this law really rubs me the wrong way. NYC and NJ are looking at similar legislation.

  • We live in a free market society. If there’s a need for a store to accept cash, there’ll be a store that accepts cash. Let the market figure it out.
  • Handling cash increases labor and productivity costs for the retailer. How many stores have you seen lately that post signs “Does not accept bills larger than $20”? Balancing tills, monitoring employee theft, going to the bank, etc. costs extra money.
  • This law stifles innovation. Instead of just outright banning “cashless stores”, how about a requirement that retailers must have a “reverse ATM” out front? There’s a new market that could be farmed out to a third party. You can’t get on the L here in Chicago with cash, you have to buy a ticket or a Ventra card. Plus, what’s preventing anyone from buying a burner Visa card and putting cash on that?

Laws like this are part of the problem with our government, not the solution. Elected officials want to make shortsighted, grandstanding gestures to prove their worth. How about governing instead of grandstanding? /soapbox