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Philadelphia bans cashless shops to fight discrimination against the poor


Cashless stores like this will be soon be banned in Philadelphia. (Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The City of Brotherly Love is looking out for some of its poorest residents by banning cashless shops.

Philadelphia became the first city to prohibit restaurants and stores from not accepting greenbacks when Mayor Jim Kenney signed the new law Thursday that takes effect on July 1.

Retailers that don’t comply could face fines up to $2,000.

Like other cities and states pushing to outlaw cashless spots, Philly stressed that such joints discriminate against low-income residents who don’t have bank accounts or credit cards.

Last month, New Jersey lawmakers passed a bill to ban cashless stores and sent it along to Gov. Phil Murphy to sign or veto it.

In New York City, a bill was introduced by Bronx councilman Ritchie Torres that would also prohibit stores and eateries from only accepting credit and debit cards or electronic payments.

“It’s disproportionately communities of color, disproportionately low-income New Yorkers, the undocumented, the homeless, senior citizens, young people — those tend to be the populations that have the least access to credit,” Torres told the Daily News in December.

“A cashless marketplace has a discriminatory effect on the most vulnerable members of our society,” he added. “And even if you do have access to credit, what if you insist on cash transactions because it’s more protective of your privacy, because it involves no sharing of private information?”

Legislation in support of allowing customers to use greenbacks has also been introduced in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.