Will Paying in Cash Become Obsolete?

Consumer advocates push for payment protection in era of “big data”

Andy Spears
2 min readJun 9, 2022


Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Consumer advocacy group Consumer Action applauded a recent vote in the Financial Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives that resulted in the passage of the Payment Choice Act, a law that would ensure that consumers will continue to have the option to pay in cash even as new technology expands payment options.

HR 4395 guarantees a consumer’s right to pay in cash at brick-and-mortar retailers.

“We believe it is critical to ensure that cash remains a universally available payment option for consumers throughout the nation,” said Consumer Action’s Linda Sherry. According to Consumer Action and other payment-choice advocates, cashless businesses lock out many millions of unbanked and underbanked Americans, while eroding the fundamental consumer freedom to rely upon cash for payment anywhere in the country.”

The group warned of the potential risks of noncash transactions:

“Noncash transactions generate vast amounts of data, recording the time, date, location, amount, and subject of each consumer’s purchase, which are available to digital marketers and advertisers who are engaged in developing and refining increasingly sophisticated techniques to identify and target potential customers.”

The Payment Choice Act, sponsored by Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-N.J.), and 48 cosponsors, both Democratic and Republican, applies to transactions in amounts less than $2,000 that occur at any retailer’s physical location, including telephone, mail, or internet-based transactions for which the retailer accepts in-person payments. In addition to requiring acceptance of cash, the bill prohibits charging higher prices to cash-paying customers than are charged to other customers.

“We greatly appreciate the committee’s endorsement of cash as a vital ongoing payment option for consumers that will help us maintain the strength of our economy,” said Bruce W. Renard, executive director of the National ATM Council, and a co-chair of the Coalition. “Enactment of the Payment Choice Act of 2022,” he added, “will help keep the U.S. dollar strong and stable here at home and preserve its status abroad as the world’s leading fiat currency. Maintaining universal acceptance of cash provides all Americans with a low-cost, user-friendly, private, and reliable payment option of immense benefit to us all, individually and collectively.”

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Originally published at https://original.newsbreak.com.



Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .