Businesses, Consumer Groups Push To Keep Cash Alive

The CCPC aims to protect cash as a payment method

The Consumer Choice in Payment Coalition (CCPC), made up of numerous businesses and consumer representatives, aims to protect the use of cash against the encroaching tide of digital pay.

The Coalition will first be pushing HR 2650, or the Payment Choice Act of 2019. That bill, introduced by Rep. Donald M. Payne Jr. (D-NJ), would maintain cash as a valid method of payment nationwide, going against some places phasing it out as a source of payment.

Preserving cash has proved popular among several states, including New Jersey and cities like New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia, which have all passed laws mandating that cash be accepted everywhere.

“We’re most encouraged to see such widespread bipartisan support for the Payne bill,” said Bruce Renard, Executive Director of coalition member The National ATM Council, Inc. “This law will establish sound and consistent guidelines to help preserve a nationwide option for consumers to pay with cash.”

There was some information being circulated, including by the European Union, that cash could potentially transmit the highly-infectious coronavirus, and people have shown an aversion to the physical contact of paying with cash during the pandemic.

But the CCPC said the fear was unfounded; there is no data showing that cash is particularly unsafe any moreso than cards or mobile phones, the Coalition said, as long as people wash their hands and follow social distancing recommendations.

The CCPC said cash as a method of payment was a reliable fail-safe in times of power blackouts or natural disasters or other such emergencies. And, the CCPC noted, many Americans “appreciate the privacy and personal freedoms and protections cash affords for their individual spending decisions and purchasing data.”

The CCPC said these issues will be increasingly in the limelight as more digital options become available, which the CCPC says increase risks of identity theft and data breaches.

The focus on cash from the CCPC is counter to current trends — Mastercard reported earlier this year that around half of responders to a survey have switched out their old payment method for one that can perform contactless functions.