Some businesses won’t take cash, citing efficiency

Some find trend problematic and said it discriminates against poor

Some businesses won’t take cash, citing efficiency
A growing trend of "cashless businesses" requires credit card or smartphone app payment only.

(CNN) - It seems that more and more Americans are becoming cashless, rejecting paper money and coins in favor of credit cards, debit cards and smartphone app payments.

Businesses are embracing the trend, but some critics are concerned.

“We get very little resistance towards it. Most people are encouraging of it,” Michael Kaplan said.

Kaplan co-owns Two Forks restaurant in New York City, specializing in all-natural, slow-cooked ingredients.

As for the experience, customers expect it fast, one of the main reasons Two Forks is cashless.

“It’s really a matter of speed, efficiency and safety for our team and our guests. The analytics that we’ve done show that we can actually get more people through the line in a quicker period of time by avoiding the need to take cash and only using credit card,” Kaplan said.

From coast to coast, the cashless movement is catching on.

Amazon Go stores and fast-casual chains like Sweetgreen, Tender Greens, Dig Inn and Dos Toros all accept digital payment only.

According to a recent Pew Research Study, roughly three in 10 American adults say they make no purchases with cash during a typical week.

That same research showed it’s lower income Americans who roughly four times to make all of their purchases with cash.

Lawmakers in DC, New York and other cities have proposed legislation banning establishments from denying cash payments, suggesting the policy is discriminatory.

“Twenty-five percent of New Yorkers are underbanked. There continue to be barriers to accessing credit in the poorest parts of our city,” said New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres, a Democrat.

He introduced a bill late last year banning cashless business. The bill would also fine establishments per offense.

“It has a disparate impact on communities of color. African Americans and Latinos are disproportionately homeless, disproportionately undocumented and disproportionately underbanked,” Torres said.

There are alternatives, however, for the “unbanked.” Prepaid cards can be obtained easily at a variety of locations or through major credit card companies.

If you’re not carrying a card, Kaplan and others will work with you.

“I have no blind faith in the free market. There’s no reason to think that the market alone is going to protect against discrimination. That has never been true,” Torres said.

According to the Federal Reserve, there is no federal statute requiring a private business, organization or individual to accept currency or coins as payment for goods and services.

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