City council bill would ban cashless stores in Philadelphia

Philadelphia City Council is considering a bill to ban stores from only accepting credit and debit cards.

Cashless stores have become the wave of the future, since so few of the young demographic carries bills in their wallet.

But councilmember Bill Greenlee says that requiring stores accept cash would help cater to the diverse economic backgrounds of people living and visiting the city.

"Often times they're poor, minorities, immigrants," said Greenlee. "Everybody should have the right to walk into a coffee shop and get a cup of coffee and not have an 'us' and 'them' kind of structure," said Greenlee.

Some would understand the councilman's point, even if they do not use cash themselves.

"I don't carry cash, I have a credit card that I use for everything," said Joann Nyquist. "But I think they need to be open to everybody's situation."

Conversely, one Philadelphia resident was quick to point out the benefit of a cashless store. Swaiman Singh used to own two grocery stores and has been robbed before.

"I got robbed at gunpoint. It's the scariest thing in the world, so if that's a store's policy I am 100 percent with them," said Singh.

Councilman Greenlee says he does not want to diminish the story of survivors like Singh, but noted that Center City is not a high crime area.

"In the areas that are probably higher crime, those places are not doing credit, because their customer base does not have credit cards," said Greenlee.

As city council mulls over their decision to ban cashless stores, there are some important statistics to consider.

According to a Pew Research Center survey, 29 percent of the 10,600 adults polled said they made no cash purchases during a typical week.

That same poll found that those who made all or most of their weekly purchases using cash plummeted from 24 percent in 2015, to 18 percent today.

A bill such as this is not a foregin concet. In fact, New Jersey passed a similar bill already.

City council is expected to vote on the bill on Tuesday morning at City Hall.