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Philadelphia’s ban on cashless stores went into effect





On Oct. 1, Philadelphia officially became the first major U.S. city to completely ban cashless stores, requiring city-wide retail locations to accept cash payments. Businesses that fail to comply with the bill’s demands will incur charges of up to $2,000, CBS Philly reported.
 
USA Today reported that proponents of this bill argue that cashless establishments are discriminatory towards low-income groups with limited access to credit cards and banking accounts. In Philadelphia, 24.5 percent of the population is below the poverty line, according to a 2018 report from the U.S. Census Bureau
 
However, the bill has faced pushback from business owners, who say going cashless reduces waiting times, hygiene problems, and the risk of theft. Sweetgreen CEO Jonathan Neman said the cashless payment system mitigates armed robbery rates in storefronts. 
 
Not all business owners are opposed to the bill. Jason Magowan, the co-partner of Steve's Prince of Steaks, told USA Today that cashless stores have a negative societal impact.
 
“I think it ends up breeding class warfare in a way," Magowan told USA TODAY. "Going cashless is just a way to control people. I think it's totally wrong and it holds people down."


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The cashless society from an ethical point of view

The debate about the move towards a cashless society has been at the center of the scene for several years, now. Various angles have been taken by economists, politicians, banking institutions and sociologists. Beyond the technicalities of the debate, lies the question of freedom, of inter-citizen solidarity and of governmental responsibility. The debate cannot remain in the hands of financial specialists, it is first and foremost an ethical, political and societal issue.










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