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A00022 Summary:

COSPNSRDinowitz, Colton, Simon, Cook, McDonough, Pichardo, Montesano, Galef, Hunter, Seawright, Barron, Glick, Lavine, Otis, Cahill, Reyes, Sayegh, Burgos
MLTSPNSREnglebright, Ramos
Add 396-ff, Gen Bus L
Requires merchants to accept cash as payment for goods and services; permits the superintendent of financial services to provide exemptions based on certain criteria.
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A00022 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
SPONSOR: Gottfried
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general business law, in relation to requiring merchants to accept cash as payment for goods   PURPOSE: This bill would require business establishments to accept US currency (cash) as legal tender when offered as payment, with certain exceptions pursuant to regulation.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 adds a new section 396-aaa to general business law to: 1. Require that any retail mercantile establishment, establishment in which food is prepared, sold, or served, or other establishment offering goods and services shall accept US currency (cash) when offered as payment; prohibit such establishments from discriminating against cash buyers by requiring use of credit or debit cards for payment; exempt transactions in which the buyer is not present in the establishment's physical place of business. 2. Authorize the superintendent of the department of financial services to make regulations to implement this section, including authorizing exemptions or exclusions based on certain criteria. 3. Impose a fine of up to $500 for a violation of this section. Section 2. Effective date 180 days after it shall have become law.   JUSTIFICATION: Several businesses have recently gone "cashless." While this can have the aura of being cutting edge and efficient, cash remains the most widely used form of payment, especially for small purchases. For many New Yorkers, cash is not only convenient but essential - their only way of paying. According to the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs, twelve percent of New York City households did not have bank accounts as of 2015 - rising to 40%-50% in some neighborhoods in the Bronx and Brook- lyn. It is almost impossible to have a credit or debit card without a bank account, and many more people just do not have a credit or debit card. Refusing to accept cash is discrimination against low and moderate income customers. Businesses refusing to accept cash payments contribute to increased credit card debt. Decades of research indicates that people spend up to twice as much for the same item if they aren't paying cash. Cash is also the only form of payment that affords customers privacy in their purchases and is not subject to hacking.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2018: A10686 - Referred to Consumers 2019: A771 referred to Consumers / Senate Consumer Protection 2020: A771 referred to Consumers / Senate Consumer Protection   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None   EFFECTIVE DATE: 180 days after it shall have become law, provided that the superinten- dent of the department of financial services may make regulations and take other actions reasonably necessary to implement this act on that date.
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