Cicilline Introduces Bill Requiring Businesses to Accept Cash

Thursday, May 9, 2019

WASHINGTON – Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC) Chair David N. Cicilline (RI-01) today introduced the Cash Buyer Discrimination Act today to require private businesses to accept cash payments. Cicilline’s bill will ensure that working people never get turned away simply because they do have a credit card.


“The American people want Congress to work for working people. This is a commonsense way to do that,” said Cicilline. “25% Americans don’t have credit cards. Yet, more and more businesses are refusing to serve customers who want to pay in cash. This bill will protect the economic freedom and opportunity of millions of working people.” 


According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), 8.4 million American households do not have a bank account. An even greater number, roughly 32 million American households, don’t use a credit card. The rising number of businesses that do not accept cash payments effectively shut out these customers, who are disproportionately working class.


The Cash Buyer Discrimination Act requires retailers to accept all legal tender, including cash, from buyers. It defines retailers broadly to include everything from a shop, to a gas station, to a dry cleaner and also includes health care services.


Two states – Massachusetts and New Jersey – and the City of Philadelphia have passed laws requiring businesses in their jurisdictions to accept cash. Cicilline’s bill will apply to all 50 states. It now awaits further consideration by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.


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