San Francisco Outlaws Stores with Credit-Only Policies

A vote conducted by San Francisco officials on Tuesday resulted in the banning of retailers which only accepts credit card reports The Associated Press. This new policy includes physical (brick-and-mortar) stores. This move seeks to outlaw the ‘growing paperless practice,’ which opposers tags as discriminatory against low-income individuals without access to credit cards.

This new legislation covers brick-and-mortar businesses, which will now be required to accept cash in exchange for goods and some services. However, ride-hailing services are exempt from this policy, as well as internet-only businesses, pop-up stores and food trucks.

This move comes after Amazon Go launched its cashless stores, requiring customers to scan an app before they can enter. It also utilizes a virtual cart which charges customers via a credit card.

With this new policy, Amazon opened cash-accepting locations. It has also agreed to accept cash at over 30 cashless sites.

The unanimous vote by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors aims to create ‘equitable access to the city’s economy,’ says board member Vallie Brown. According to Brown, this enables individuals who are victims of identity theft, immigrants and homeless to have access to the goods and services offered by these retailers.

The AP notes that this new policy is apt, especially for a city such as San Francisco which is known for a wide wealth disparity. The AP also remarks that tech employees in San Francisco may prefer the ease offered by cashless transactions, however, low-income individuals which include over 4,000 homeless people, may suffer from this type of economy.

Ironically, the paperless transactions enabled by a cashless economy leaves behind a digital paper trail, which is easily remedied by transacting using cash.

Philadelphia and New Jersey were the first to enforce this kind of legislation this year.