TRENTON, NJ - An effort championed by Senator Nellie Pou (D-35) to prohibit discrimination against cash-paying consumers is one step closer to becoming law. The bill, S-2785, which would prohibit end the practice of prohibiting the use of cash in the purchase of any good or service, was passed by the New Jersey State Senator 39-0.
"A lot of people forget that access to banks and lines of credit are luxuries not everyone has and the costs associated can often put them out of reach for many low income families," Pou said. "The United States currency - dollars and coins - are legal tender for all debts and dues. Retail establishments should be required to accept legal tender when offered as payment by a patron."
If enacted, the law would apply to any retail transactions made in person, while excluding purchases made on the internet or payments made via telephone or in the mail. Certain exclusions also apply to certain airport services as well as parking facilities owned either by a municipality of privately.
Businesses found to be in violation of the law would risk fines of up to $2,500 for a first offense and up to $5,000 for a second violation.
The legislation, according to a statement, was born out of studies that showed that in 2015 seven person of households had no checking or savings accounts, a number that doubles among Black and Latino households. The most common reason for not having a bank account, the statement continued, is the fees imposed on customers who cannot meet a minimum balance or other requirements.
Know a story we should share with readers? Email editor Steve Lenox and tell him about it.