The reasons to say no to cashless society

In the District, restaurants and businesses alike are following an increasing nationwide cashlessness trend, a move that has been met with backlash. At Georgetown, The Corp made the switch in 2018, with all seven campus locations exclusively accepting cashless payment in the form of a GOCard, credit card, or debit card. But some cities are fighting this trend—on Jan. 23, New York City became the latest to ban cashless businesses. D.C. might be next as a bill, the Cashless Retailers Prohibition Act, was introduced in the D.C. Council.

Companies like The Corp or Sweetgreen have claimed going cashless simply means faster transactions, better customer service, and more efficient accounting. However, this editorial board believes cashless business practices discriminate against those who do not have the resources to participate in such transactions and must be banned by the Council.

According to a 2015 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation report, at least 11 percent of D.C. residents do not have bank accounts, a higher proportion of bankless individuals than in most other cities in the country. Moreover, 27 percent of people in D.C. do not have access to a credit card or any other form of credit. This means up to 76,500 people are unable to pay for goods or services at any business in the city that has gone cashless.

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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.

The cashless society from an ethical point of view

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