The New York City Council on Thursday (Jan. 23) passed a ban on cashless food and retail stores. The ban was reportedly spearheaded by Councilmember Ritchie Torres.
After the decision, Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), praised the Council for doing away with cashless stores, saying that forcing customers to use only credit or debit is “discriminatory” and serves as a disadvantage for low-income customers, people of color, undocumented immigrants and the elderly.
Applebaum added that communities of color in New York City are more than twice as likely to lack access to a bank and are less likely to host a branch of a bank than the national average. Praising Torres and the other councilmembers, he said the bill would ensure that everyone can shop or eat at any place in the city.
Cashless shopping has been slowly developing around the world. In Africa, a rising number of the population holds smartphones and pays electronically. DPO Group CEO Eran Feinstein told PYMNTS that there are many customers who have hardly touched a shilling in the last year. In light of that, he said it’s only a matter of connecting different digital paths to one another, making it easier for mobile money to move.
And in Singapore, global FinTech Rapyd announced a new platform that will allow both consumers and businesses to go totally cashless. With the program, they’ll be able to complete bank transfers, make electronic payments and use eWallets with apps to pay for services.
But cashless hasn’t been a win everywhere. In Britain, supermarket Tesco recently drew criticism for doing away with cash payments on its ‘Scan As You Shop’ program. The chain said people can still pay with cash on their self-service tills and main checkouts, but some customers have taken to social media to protest the decision, saying they believe it will make shopping more difficult.