A rising variety of retail companies are refusing to let their prospects pay in cash. That is unhealthy for privateness. Greater-tech cost strategies, like bank cards and on-line cost techniques, typically create an indelible document of what we purchased, and at what time and place. How will you cease knowledge thieves, knowledge brokers, and police from snooping in your buy historical past? Pay in cash.
Shops with “cash not accepted” insurance policies are additionally unfair to the hundreds of thousands of Individuals who’re unbanked or underbanked, and thus lack the power to pay with out cash. This cohort disproportionately consists of individuals of colour and other people with decrease incomes. Shops that require high-tech cost strategies discriminate in opposition to individuals with out entry to that tech.
So EFF helps the Fee Alternative Act (S. 4145, H.R. 2650), a federal invoice sponsored by Senators Kevin Cramer and Robert Menendez and Consultant Donald Payne. It could require retail shops to simply accept cash from in-person prospects. The invoice ensures efficient enforcement with a personal proper of motion.
We proudly signed a coalition letter in help of the Fee Alternative Act. This effort, organized by Shopper Federation of American and Shopper Motion, is joined by 51 client, privateness, and civil rights advocacy organizations. The letter explains:
Unbanked customers have little entry to noncash types of cost. And not using a bank account, they’re unable to acquire credit score or debit playing cards or to make use of different noncash cost strategies, with the attainable exception of pay as you go playing cards. Moreover, when customers are pressured to pay for items and companies in cashless transactions, they (in addition to the companies the place they store) are additionally typically pressured to incur added bills within the type of community and transaction charges.
Moreover, noncash transactions generate huge quantities of information, recording the time, date, location, quantity, and topic of every client’s buy. These knowledge can be found to digital entrepreneurs and advertisers who’re engaged in growing and refining more and more subtle methods to establish and goal potential prospects. Paying with cash offers customers with considerably extra privateness than do digital types of cost.
Whereas some have expressed issues about accepting cash within the midst of the pandemic, others can solely pay in cash, and we can not permit our present disaster to solidify discrimination completely. Congress ought to shield cash cost.