While the days of wallets stuffed with dollar bills and pockets jingling with coins might be a distant memory for many of us, a Los Angeles City Council member wants to make sure cash doesn’t go extinct.
At least not yet.
Councilwoman Heather Hutt, District 10, who represents a wide swath of central L.A. from Baldwin Hills to Koreatown, introduced a motion Tuesday to ban cashless retail businesses in the city.
“Cashless businesses create an economy in our City that is not inclusive and accessible for all people,” Hutt said in a statement. “There are many unbanked groups, including [minorities] and low-income communities, that rely on cash to pay for goods and services.”
The motion, if approved, would ask the City Attorney to draft an ordinance.
A 2022 Pew Research Center study found that roughly 40% of Americans go “cashless” each week – meaning none of their purchases involved physical dollars and cents. That’s up from 29% in 2018 and 24% in 2015.
But there is a clear racial divide.
The Pew study also found that roughly a quarter of Black adults (26%) and 21% of Hispanic adults make almost all of their purchases using cash in a typical week, compared with just 12% of white adults.
“As a City that has promised to be a safe and fair place for all, we must be proactive in ensuring that all our systems create fairness and equity for each and every individual,” Hutt said.
The transition to cashless purchases has been welcomed by many business owners for several reasons.
Among them, it speeds up checkout, lowers labor costs and increases security, The New York Times reported.