WASHINGTON–The ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) said it is throwing its support behind efforts to ban cashless retail businesses in New York City, Washington and
At least two states are also said to be considering similar proposals, according to ATMIA, which issued a statement that the motivation for all such efforts has focused on the potential disenfranchisement of poor and unbanked consumers.
“The issue is far broader than the poor and unbanked segment of the economy pointed to by these legislative measures,” said David Tente, executive director of ATMIA USA, in a statement. “Cashless retail severely limits consumer payment choice and eliminates the favored payment method for 26% of the population, according to Federal Reserve numbers. And industry data indicates that 45% of consumers prefer using cash for purchases in local retail establishments.”
According to ATMIA, even those with a vested interest in a cashless environment should take a moment to consider factors outside of payment choice, saying that at times of crisis cash is often the only option. “Daily life, too, has its wrinkles – payment networks crash and power systems fail. The only viable back-up system in all such circumstances is cash,” the association said.
ATMIA said plans to issue a Position Paper on the subject of "Cash is Legal Tender" in the coming weeks, and that its advocacy plans for 2019 include significant and continued attention to the ongoing importance of cash and its part in promoting financial inclusion.