San Francisco Bans Credit-Only Stores

Bay area joins Philadelphia and New Jersey in banning cashless trend.

May 10, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to require brick-and-mortar retailers to take cash as payment, according to the Associated Press. Supervisor Vallie Brown, who introduced the legislation, said it “will go far in ensuring all San Franciscans have equitable access to the city’s economy.”

Banning cash purchases prohibits young people, victims of ID theft, immigrants and homeless people from buying a simple sandwich or bottled water.

The supervisors’ move is meant to address a larger inequality problem the Bay Area is experiencing. As Silicon Valley attracts high-paid workers, the low-income population is struggling to keep up with the area’s rising cost of living. 

The AP reports that the new legislation in San Francisco requires brick-and-mortar businesses to accept cash for goods and some services. Temporary pop-up stores and internet-only businesses such as ride-hailing companies would be exempt, as would food trucks, which say they lack the resources to handle cash.

Philadelphia and New Jersey have similar laws in place, and New York has introduced legislation to require merchants to accept cash.