Bill would require stores to accept cash payments in Wisconsin

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Hoping to prevent retail businesses from accepting only credit or debit payments for their products, a rural Wisconsin lawmaker is pushing for a law that would require physical retailers to also accept cash.

The bill, introduced this week by state representative Gary Tauchen (R-Bonduel) and four fellow Republicans, provides for a fine of at least $ 200 and up to $ 5,000 for every time a trader retailer refuses to accept cash in a face-to-face transaction with a consumer.

Tauchen was concerned that some people in his district – especially the elderly – would have problems if retailers dump the cash, Craig Arrowood, a Tauchen aide, said on Friday.

Arrowood said the idea of ​​requiring a cash payment option arose when Tauchen was at a McDonald’s restaurant and noticed electronic payment kiosks and few humans taking orders. Tauchen feared that “not having a cash option would be a real detriment” to people unfamiliar with or doubtful about electronic payment technology, Arrowood said.

In a note sent to other Wisconsin lawmakers, Tauchen said it is a common misconception that companies should accept cash payments because it is “legal tender” for debts in the United States.

“As we have an aging population, people affected by credit fraud, people who don’t have a credit or debit card, and people with lower credit scores or who just don’t have a credit card. credit, possibly preventing them from owning a credit card, debit card, or checking account – I am introducing ‘Wisconsin Cash Option’ to protect Wisconsin consumers, ”Tauchen said. “This bill requires retailers to provide a cash option.”

Very few face-to-face retail businesses in Wisconsin are cashless. One, the Goddess and the Baker restaurant in the town of Brookfield, has required payment by card or debit since it opened last year. In the last basketball season, the Milwaukee Bucks experimented with 11 cashless food vendors at the Fiserv Forum.

Supporters of cashless payments say they reduce the risk of theft, are faster and more convenient, and eliminate issues like counting cash and sending money to a bank.

But Cardtronics, a large network of ATMs with ATMs in places like CVS, Walgreens and Speedway, was quick to applaud Tauchen’s bill. Cardtronics operates 1,156 ATMs in Wisconsin

“Cashless policies are proprietary and particularly harmful for the poor, unbanked / underbanked, the elderly and minorities, who disproportionately depend on cash for their daily purchases,” the door said. lyrics by Crystal Wright. “Plus, Americans want the ability to pay in cash because it’s reliable and works when payment systems fail; it is secure; and it is private and cannot be hacked. “

Massachusetts and New Jersey have laws against merchants prohibiting cash payments.

Tauchen’s bill was sent to the Assembly Committee on Small Business Development.

Paul Gores can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @pgores

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