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Friday, July 17, 2020

Support for cash growing in Congress

The Payment Choice Act of 2019 (HR-2650), which was introduced in the House on May 5, 2019, is gaining bipartisan support in Congress, most recently with companion bill S-4145, introduced July 1, 2020, by U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Designed to protect U.S. currency as a viable payments option, the bills prohibit merchants from enacting cashless policies, posting anti-cash signage and surcharging cash transactions.

Bruce Renard, executive director of the National ATM Council Inc., commended Sens. Cramer and Menendez for sponsoring S-4145. "This measure will help avoid discrimination against our most vulnerable citizens who are unbanked/underbanked and must rely upon cash as their sole means of payment," he stated. "The new law will also help protect important privacy rights for all Americans regarding their personal purchasing decisions and choices."

ATM community support

Renard further noted that cash is a cost-effective medium that doesn't require users to pay card brand, network and bank fees. Legislators on both sides of the aisle recognize the importance of preserving cash as a payment option, he added. He is urging NAC members and ATM community stakeholders to contact their U.S. senators and representatives to request support and sponsorship of HR-2650 and S-4145.

"Preserving the cash payment option will ensure that we have a safety net for commerce that is not subject to network/power outages or merchant fees otherwise associated with all electronic payment methods," Renard said. "This is vital legislation for our nation that should be enacted into law as soon as possible."

Digital cash

Udo Müller, CEO at PaysafeCard, stated that cash plays an essential role in U.S. communities. A 2020 PaysafeCard study found that 47 percent of U.S. consumers would transact with cash online if doing so were convenient. Another 43 percent would become more frequent ecommerce shoppers if cash payments were easier to do online. These data points suggest that making eCash solutions widely available would benefit businesses, he stated.

"With many US-based retailers and consumers concerned about the potential risk of infection [due to COVID-19], the use of alternative forms of payments, from contactless cards to mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, has been on the rise," Müller said. "But as contactless adoption increases, it is important to remember the essential role of cash for the unbanked, who are disproportionately reliant on this method."

Physical cash

Renard cited a recent study by the Consumer Choice in Payments Coalition that cotton and linen-based U.S. currency is more germ proof than non-porous plastic payment cards and mobile phones. The study is backed up with scientific evidence, he noted, which contradicts statements made by POS manufacturers and other payments industry stakeholders who have been trying to kill cash for a long time.

"The U.S. Dollar is a precious national asset, one that must continue to be universally accepted as a valid form of payment everywhere in America," Renard said. "Please reach out to the U.S. senators and members of Congress who represent the districts where you live and work and ask for their help on these issues." end of article

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