This year, the General Assembly passed, and Governor Raimondo signed into law, legislation that protects the rights of customers to pay for things in cash.
As the lead sponsor of the legislation, I believed that credit card only policies are discriminatory to the elderly, youth, and those living in poverty. I also believed there were significant privacy and identity-theft concerns surrounding businesses that only accept credit cards for payment.
I was grateful that my colleagues in the General Assembly understood the need for this bill and voted for its passage, with the law taking effect upon the passage and signing of the legislation into law.
This is why I was so troubled when I saw a recent news report stating that a local business was disregarding this new law and continuing to only accept credit cards as a form of payment.
Although some businesses might argue for the benefits of cashless payment, I would like to remind them that such business models are in violation of the current state law and will not be tolerated.
People use cash for a multitude of reasons and not everyone has access to credit cards. Excluding these people from purchasing goods and services is simply not fair and will be detrimental to our economy in the long run.
Thankfully, some credit-only businesses are now following the law by switching to accepting cash. It is my hope that next time I’m in Providence and visit Poindexter Coffee in the Graduate Providence hotel that I will be able to reach into my pocket for some legal tender and buy a cup of their wonderful coffee.
Mia A. Ackerman
The writer, a Democrat, represents District 45 in the Rhode Island House of Representatives.