New Jersey Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. wants stores to continue to honor cash as a form of payment during the current coronavirus public health crisis.
In a letter to leadership of the House and Senate, Payne is requesting more protections for cash as a payment option during the COVID-19 pandemic. Payne says many Americans do not have any other option to pay for goods and services and American currency doesn’t present an increased risk of COVID-19 infection when compared to credit cards.
Several studies prove that COVID-19 has a low risk of being transmitted through currency. Many stores have requested customers use debit and credit cards and other cashless methods rather than cash to minimize contact. According to a survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., 47% of Black households are unbanked or underbanked meaning they don’t have debit or credit cards.
“It is fundamentally wrong that businesses that have been deemed essential during the pandemic would refuse to accept cash,” said Payne. “It denies some of the neediest Americans their only option to pay for goods and services. Every consumer should have the ability to choose their form of payment and essential businesses should not deny consumers the right to pay with cash.”
The letter was sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer. It has 25 co-signers, including Karen Bass, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.