New Jersey has become just the second state in the U.S. to prohibit retail stores and restaurants from refusing to accept cash. (Massachusetts took this step in 1978.) The law is believed to be modeled on a recent law enacted by the city of Philadelphia. It targets stores that accept payments only by credit cards or through an app. Moreover, the law echoes the Philadelphia law in exempting parking garages, certain car rental companies, and certain airport stores. New York City is considering a similar ban.
Cashless stores raise concerns about fairness toward people who do not use credit cards and do not want to pay for prepaid debit cards. Since some people do not have access to credit cards, cashless stores may be viewed as discriminatory. They also implicate questions of privacy. Some consumers may prefer not to allow credit card companies such comprehensive access to their daily activities. On the other hand, some observers believe that cashless stores are more efficient and convenient, and they may reduce the risk of theft.
The initial fine for violating the New Jersey law is $2,500. The fine will double for a second offense and continue increasing for subsequent offenses.
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