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July 21, 2023

The Consequences of the Cashless Economy

INFiN, a financial services alliance, shared this letter from executive director, Edward D’Alessio. This is part of a regular series NFIN sends to staffers for HFSC and SBC highlighting issues around our industry. Read the letter here:
 
To Whom It May Concern,
 
Over the past few years, there’s been a trend toward businesses going “cashless” – opting to no longer accept cash payments – as many consumers increasingly rely on mobile wallets and apps to make digital payments.
 
But the rise of the cashless economy is not universal or without consequences. Millions of Americans – especially those who are underbanked or unbanked – prefer or have no choice than to pay in cash; receive paper checks, including for government benefits; and rely on trusted, traditional payment methods. According to a 2022 study by Pew Research Center, roughly 6-in-10 American (59%) still use cash to pay for at least some of their purchases in a typical week. Without this convenient option, consumers experience additional, unwanted costs and negative results and, in the case of government payments, endure delays in accessing vital benefits. 
 
The Solution: The Payment Choice Act
 
Congress can protect consumers’ preferences and finances by preserving access to cash payment options with passage of the Payment Choice Act (H.R. 4128,S. 1984). This bipartisan, bicameral legislation was re-introduced in both chambers on June 14 after being passed by the House of Representatives twice in 2022.
 
Led by Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.) in the House and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) in the Senate, this important legislation is critical to securing cash as a viable, equitable means of payment for those who value and choose it to conduct their financial transactions. If enacted, this commonsense measure would prohibit retail businesses from refusing cash for transactions under $2,000. 
 
Cashless policies disproportionately harm those such as the elderly, communities of color, immigrants, low-income populations, and working-class communities – and now is the time for Congress to work across party lines to swiftly pass the Payment Choice Act, ensuring financial inclusion and accessible payment options for all U.S. consumers. 
 
We urge you to help advance this crucial legislation, including by signing on as a co-sponsor if your office has not already. If you have any questions about the impacts of cashless policies on consumers, please don’t hesitate to reach out to INFiN.
 
Sincerely,
 
Edward P. D’Alessio | Executive Director
INFiN, A Financial Services Alliance
1909 K Street, NW, 4th Floor | Washington, DC 20006
Phone: 202-327-9708 (o) | 201-446-3226 (c)
edalessio@infinalliance.org
  
 
About INFiN
 
INFiN, a Financial Services Alliance, is the leading national trade association representing the diverse and innovative regulated consumer financial services industry. With state-licensed locations in communities across the country, INFiN members deliver critical products and services to meet U.S. consumers’ ever-evolving needs and expectations, enabling essential financial inclusion and stability. For more information, visit www.INFiNAlliance.org.
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