Rep. Payne, Jr. Wants Cash Payments Protected during Global Pandemic

August 24, 2020
Press Release

Media Contact:  Patrick Wright   --

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. wants stores to continue to honor cash as a form of payment during the current coronavirus public health crisis.    

Rep. Payne, Jr. wrote a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate today to request more protections for cash as a payment option during the global pandemic.  In the letter, Rep. Payne, Jr. said many Americans do not have any other option to pay for goods and services and American currency doesn’t present an increased risk of COVID-19 infection when compared to credit cards.  Several studies have proven it, including a scientific one to see if currency is able to transmit a virus as well as a comparison in Germany concerning the high amount of cash transactions and the extremely low rates of coronavirus mortality.   

“It is fundamentally wrong that businesses that have been deemed essential during the pandemic would refuse to accept cash,” said Congressman Donald M. Payne.  “It denies some of the neediest Americans their only option to pay for goods and services.  Every consumer should have the ability to choose their form of payment and essential businesses should not deny consumers the right to pay with cash.”      

The letter points out that “businesses nationwide have been refusing to accept cash as a form of payment.  Meanwhile, nearly a quarter of Americans are either unbanked or under-banked, without access to digital payments, credit cards, or debit cards.  Cashless policies disproportionately harm seniors, minorities, immigrants, low-income populations, and working-class communities.  All consumers should have the freedom to… pay with cash at grocery stores, restaurants, and other essential businesses.”  The letter was sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.  It has 25 co-signers, including Karen Bass, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.   

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