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Philadelphia Bans Cashless Stores

Lawmakers in Philadelphia have passed a ban on cashless stores, making it the first major city in the U.S. to do so, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

The new law will take effect in July and would require most retail outlets to accept physical currency. New Jersey recently passed a similar law and New York City is on the path to doing so as well. Massachusetts already requires businesses to accept cash. 

The move could affect innovation for companies like Amazon and its cashless “Go” stores, which link to an Amazon account through a mobile device and automatically charges for purchases.

The politician who introduced the bill, Philadelphia City Councilman William Greenlee, said he thinks the general move toward a cashless city is discriminatory toward lower income individuals and other marginalized populations.

“Most of the people who don’t have credit tend to be lower income, minority, immigrants. It just seemed to me, if not intentional, at least a form of discrimination,” he said. Now stores will be required “to do what businesses have been doing since Ben Franklin was walking the streets of Philadelphia,” he said.


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