WASHINGTON – Should cash be a thing of the past? Not so fast, according to a bipartisan coalition.

U.S. Sens. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J., members of the Senate Banking Committee, have introduced the “Payment Choice Act,” a bipartisan bill to protector customers’ freedom to choose how to pay for goods or services by prohibiting businesses from refusing to accept cash, posting signs that cash is not accepted, or charging a higher price for using cash.

“Businesses who prohibit cash payments discriminate against the millions of Americans who do not have bank accounts while forcing customers to exclusively use a less secure form of payment,” Cramer said. “Our legislation protects people’s right to choose their preferred currency and ensures the money we print remains usable as legal tender for all debts, just as it says.”

Menendez agreed, pointing out that refusing cash discriminates against certain populations and denies people equal access to the same goods or services.

“The truth is, not everyone carries a credit card or uses cashless apps, and customers paying with cash — legal tender printed and backed by the U.S. Treasury — should not be denied goods or services,” Menendez said. “Our bipartisan, commonsense legislation would guarantee everyone — including those who are unbanked or underbanked –- can continue to participate in the economy.”

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According to the Federal Reserve, 6% of Americans are unbanked and 16% of Americans are underbanked. Cash represents up to 30% of all transactions and 55% percent of transactions under $10.

Read the bill text here.