A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you. What once was king has now been ostracized and stigmatized, and ultimately not allowed as a form of payment, as seen in many businesses around the nation. If you are a business owner and you refuse to take cash, you are breaking the law.” 5103 nor any other federal law requires that a private business, organization or person accept cash in exchange for goods or services. "Businesses should take thoughtful measures to keep their employees and consumers safe, but let's keep our economy open to everyone." “There is … no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person, or an organization must accept currency or coins as payments for goods or services," the nation's central bank says on its website. If you are a business owner and you refuse to take cash, you are breaking the law.” This law is for the state of Mississippi, but somewhat holds true for Ohio as well. 5103 relates to the payment of debts, which they define as preexisting debts, and therefore that the parties to a transaction or exchange do not have to agree to accept cash as payment for goods or services. The Bank of Canada says it's up to sellers to determine what kinds of payment they will accept for transactions, and there is "no law" that would require anyone to accept bank notes or any other form of payment for a commercial transaction. It is a widely held belief that U.S. law requires that businesses accept cash payments from their customers. If you haven’t yet received the goods there is no debt. At times, debtors have attempted to pay bills with small change, such as by bringing thousands of unrolled pennies into a business or government office to pay a bill or obligation, insisting that they have the right to pay in that manner. Your COVID-19 questions answered. "Not only does this hurt their ability to transact, but it threatens their food security," Bryant said. Dear John: Could you please tell me why it’s legal for Citibank to prevent people from using cash to pay their credit card bills at the tellers’ windows? The short answer: yes. There is no federal statute mandating that a private business, a person, or an organization must accept currency or coins as payment for goods or services. And even if stores say they prefer plastic only, it's worth asking if they can make an exception. For example, some states require that a landlord accept rent payments in cash. Federal law is not going to be amended or re-interpreted to require all businesses to accept cash payment, as many contexts exist in which the acceptance of cash would create significant burdens on a business, increase cost, reduce efficiency, and even create potential risks to a business and its employees. But some readers, such as Samar D., are asking if it's legal for a retailer to reject payment in cash. A few years ago, a debtor was charged with disorderly conduct after dumping 2,500 pennies on the counter of a medical office, insisting that they accept the pennies as payment of his bill. See, e.g., Nemser v. New York City Transit Auth., 140 Misc.2d 369, 530 N.Y.S.2d 493, 494 (1988), which applies a reasonableness standard to when a municipality must accept cash payments. Legal tender is a concept based on paying a debt. Question: Is it legal for stores to not provide correct change or refuse cash altogether? Refusal of Cash Does Not Erase a Debt: Absent a law that specifically imposes a consequence on a payee for refusing cash, a refusal to accept cash will not impair the payee's right or ability to collect a debt. If you’ve already received the goods or services, the business must accept the cash from you. According to that research, it could last longer on coins than bills. Roland Bleyer, founder of creditcard.com.au, explains that it's actually perfectly legal for shops to refuse cash – so long as they make it clear before you purchase. The court did not make a contempt finding, but did order the man to pay the bank fee associated with processing the pennies, ordered the man to pay additional legal fees associated with the lawyer's motion, and ordered that payment of the sanctions be made with folding money. But there is something else you should be thinking about when it comes to payment, said Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto. We'll publish a selection of answers every weekday on our website, and we're also putting some of your questions to the experts on the air during The National and on CBC News Network. However, if you are a citizen who does not have the ability to pay by card, we suggest contacting businesses to confirm they are still accepting cash before making the journey there. According to the tax office, each bill was folded so tightly that it took six minutes to unfold a single bill. "So [retailers] need to use their discretion.". Is It Illegal for Businesses to Refuse to Accept Cash? If you haven’t, they can refuse cash. When paying for goods or services in cash, or paying a debt or fine, here are some points to remember: Use Cash if It's Convenient to You: If the payee accepts cash, the reason to pay in cash it out of convenience to yourself. The principal purpose of that statute is to ensure the nationwide acceptance of U.S. currency, consistent with constitutional language1 that reserves to Congress the power to create a uniform currency that holds the same value throughout the United States. If you use a quotation, excerpt or paraphrase of this article, except as otherwise authorized in writing by the author of the article you must cite this article as a source for your work and include a link back to the original article from any online materials that incorporate or are derived from the content of this article. Neither 31 U.S.C. While the statute provides that U.S. money is legal tender that may be accepted for the payment of debts, it does not require acceptance of cash payments, nor does it provide that restrictions cannot be imposed upon the acceptance of cash. Copyright © 2016 Aaron Larson, All rights reserved. I wouldn't bother trying to disinfect money. Some courts have explicitly found that no entity, including a government office, is required to accept cash.4. Many states require that a private impound lot accept cash payments by an owner seeking the release of a motor vehicle. It's one of a long list of reasons to carry hand sanitizer and use it.". Neither belief is true. Answer: The United States is currently experiencing a coin shortage due to the coronavirus pandemic. if they refuse ur cash than the debt is cleared and take ur items and leave stores refusing u.s. legal tender can not persicuit a person if they refused to take cash! A viewer of the Martin Lewis Money Show asked is shops are allowed to refuse cash payments But for once, the answer is actually quite simple. Cash, as written on US legal tender, is a valid payment for all debts. … When you purchase something, that is a credit, not a debt transaction. 'Refusal to accept payment in legal tender banknotes and coins is not unlawful,' it states. When courts have been called upon to address the issue, they have consistently found that government restrictions on whether, when, where and how cash payments may be made are permissible under the law.3 For example, somebody who wants to pay a municipal bill, a fine or tax debt with cash may be required to do so through a cashier's office during its regular business hours, so that the payment can be properly counted and a receipt may be issued. Some retailers — like the Metro grocery chain in Ontario and Quebec — say they're encouraging customers to use cards, but they'll still take cash if it's the only option. The central bank says these substances can damage the notes to the point where they may not be recognizable as legitimate money. But don't use disinfectant wipes or other products containing bleach or rubbing alcohol. But most of us have at some time been met with puzzled looks and a refusal when we’ve proffered a … We're answering your questions about the pandemic. Lawyer and author of books, articles, and legal reference materials. Box 500 Station A Toronto, ON Canada, M5W 1E6. Discussion forums for legal questions and issues. 2009). It is a widely held belief that U.S. law requires that businesses accept cash payments from their customers. In most places, no. Even businesses that choose to accept cash can refuse to accept large numbers of coins. A number of viral Facebook posts (including one from Mississippi State Sen. Chad McMahan) claim that it is illegal for businesses not to accept cash payments for goods or services. Just as many retailers refuse to accept cheques or £50 notes, there is nothing to stop them from not taking cash at all. 1. 'If you are a business and you refuse to take cash, you are breaking the law.' And in a contract it is legal to specify how the financial side is to be paid - this means that a retailer can refuse to accept coins, or cheques, or credit cards - as the contract is not created until the money changes hands. The short answer is yes, a store can refuse to take cash. Send us your questions via email at COVID@cbc.ca, and we'll answer as many as we can. You are still negotiating the transaction. That was my reaction! The riskiest surfaces for coronavirus and how to clean them, CBC's Journalistic Standards and Practices. "Even one day would be low risk. "Assume three days, and you are very safe," he said. Otherwise, even when you're dealing with a legitimate business, you may find that they later claim to have no record of the payment and insist that they never received the money. That would include handing over bills and coins from one person's hand to another. This paper money, this note, is Legal Tender for all debts, public and private. Can a store make me wear a mask to shop? Keep your questions coming by emailing us at COVID@cbc.ca. Don't Send Cash Through the Mail: If the cash disappears before it is processed by the recipient, good luck convincing anybody that you actually mailed the money. Ultimately, it’s up to the business to decide whether or not they want to accept cash payments (unless there is a state or local law that says otherwise). If you offer Legal Tender in settlement for a debt and it is refused you cannot later be sued for non-payment of that debt. Depends. More businesses are going cashless during the COVID-19 pandemic and are asking customers to use debit, credit or app payments as a precautionary measure. It is a priority for CBC to create a website that is accessible to all Canadians including people with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive challenges. — not that I ever use cash (no I’m not rich…credit cards help manage money). No portion of this article may be reproduced without the express written permission of the copyright holder. Easy to use directory of expert witnesses. But some readers, such as Samar D., are asking if it's legal for a retailer to reject payment in cash. And though the virus starts to degrade or break down right away, it can take up to three days for it to be totally gone. In summary, the answer is “yes” a business can legally refuse a cash payment. u.s. treasury law states it is unlawful to refuse legal tender any business can also be reported for refusing cash and reprimanded! Some people take the argument a step further, arguing that if a business refuses to accept cash from a customer, the business loses its ability to charge the customer. 733, 735 (3rd Cir. Foreign gold or silver coins are not legal tender for debts. Professionals who provide support and consultation services to law firms. However, in certain circumstances, refusing to take cash in a store may actually violate provincial human rights codes. Since the panic-demic started, one of the casualties has been cash. Is it legal to refuse cash? Although making a payment in a manner that is inconvenient to the recipient is not of itself unlawful, doing so with the intention of flouting a court order, disrupting the operations of an office, or burdening the recipient's staff is not without peril. “This is a Federal Reserve Note, a $20 bill. 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