(WHTM) – A Pennsylvania lawmaker wants to ensure shoppers can still use cash to purchase items as many businesses seek to go cash-free.
State Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) has introduced legislation that would update the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law to include refusing to accept cash payment as a definition for “unfair methods of competition” and “unfair or deceptive acts or practices.”
“This is unfair to consumers who do not possess a debit card, credit card, or other electronic means of payment,” argues Diamond.
The bill would apply to transactions under $500 when the purchaser is physically present.
Businesses can have a written policy that cash in excess of a certain denomination will not be accepted as long as the policy is posted prior to the point of sale, according to the bill.
According to a 2022 Pew Research Center survey, roughly 41% of Americans aren’t using cash during a typical week, up from 29% in 2018. Thirty percent of Americans with a household income below $30,000 a year say they still use cash for almost all their purchases. That rate drops to 20% for those making $30,000 to $49,999 a year and 6% for those earning $50,000 a year or more.
The same survey found that while a majority (58%) of all Americans try to make sure they always carry cash, 54% of residents 18-49 say they don’t worry about whether they have cash.
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco found that 18% of payments in 2022 were cash, while 60% were made using either a credit or debit card. Only 1% of payments were made using a mobile payment app.
Nearly 4 in 10 consumers (39%) ages 18-34 are more likely to use a debit card and 36% of consumers 25-34 use a credit card, according to the same study.
According to the Federal Reserve, there is no federal law mandating a business must accept cash for payment and private businesses can develop their own policies unless there’s a state law saying otherwise.