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A fine of $1000 will be levied on businesses across New York City if they fail to accept payments that are made with cash and coins. The new law now bans businesses from denying people who want to pay with dollars and coins and has gone into effect from November 19th. 

As of Nov. 19, restaurants and businesses must accept cash as a form of payment. Owing largely to the coronavirus pandemic, most businesses had gone on-board with the minimum-contact digital payment, only accepting online payments or cards, in the mix. This, however, was a cause for concern for Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres, who wanted to stop the practice. “I have constituents who have no access to debit or credit and even if you do, there are some constituents, particularly the elderly, who prefer cash. The choice should belong to the consumer,” Torres said.

Source: Fortune

The bill had been passed by the City Council back in January before the COVID uptick occurred, but only just now went into effect. According to the terms of the new legislation- A business must accept bills in denominations of $20 or under as a payment option. If not, the first violation goes up to $1,000 and then jumps to $1,500. Businesses are not required to accept bills over $20.

The Department of Consumer Affairs has been put in charge of the enforcement of the legislation, which is primarily based on consumer complaints. Customers can call 311 or log a complaint online. The Department of Consumer Affairs has also said it has shared information about the new law with several stakeholders, including businesses and community boards.

While consumers are quite happy with the convenience of the decision, Businesses, on the other hand, don’t find it too lucrative or safe. For business owners, avoiding cash payments is much safer- both on the infection and the robbery front. With the rising crime rates and with more and more people going out of jobs, business owners are always in the fear of being robbed. There’s nothing for people to come in and rob and nothing for employees to steal when there’s no cash involved.

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Rhea Sovani

Author Rhea Sovani

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