Bacteria is everywhere. A business is well within its rights to dictate its terms of trade to its customers. Allegedly, the cash and coins we carry are covered by up to 19 types of bug and potentially deadly bacteria, 'experts' say. But a few minutes of research turned up a surprising fact: On the federal level, it is perfectly legal. Legal tender in the uk simply means you can pay off a debt in it. They can refuse any payment method or require any method. The entire UK cash infrastructure costs around £5billion each year. This is not a theory. If … in the UK you can refuse to take fake money, but you cannot take it off the person and go to the police with it. If you are a business owner and you refuse to take cash, you are breaking the law.” He gave an example. In the last few weeks, since writing a column about Britain going cashless, I spotted the annual 'cash is filthy and full of germs' story that gets picked up by the press. Many alternatives to cash … Details in this link . If they decide it's no longer commercially viable to undertake that activity, then cash in circulation could simply stop. They don't take cash. I can understand a business not wanting to make change for a $100 dollar bill on a $5 dollar footlong, but can they legally refuse? How would you react if a shop you used regularly stopped taking cash? Is cash actually an essential part of our UK infrastructure? They have to take my cash! A business also has the right to refuse to take coins and notes in number of circumstances. This week, it has been revealed there will be a new plastic £50 note, indicating that the Bank sees a future in physical cash and the £50 note. Our. Yes, they can. Martin Lewis has settled the argument about whether shops are allowed to refuse cash payments on his ITV show But the use of cash has declined steeply in recent years, and it … “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. Ask the Watchdog: Can a business refuse cash? To be excluded from certain activities? To pay more for what they buy? But at the same time, costs are largely fixed and don't fall away as cash usage drops. We can be creative in how this is done, and it's going to require us to bring together banks, government, the post office, charities and regulators to work together on solutions. “Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether to accept cash unless there is a state law which says otherwise." Downsides to Avoiding Cash. There is no law which says that business must accept cash money. Last year, debit card payments overtook cash as the main way we pay for things, according to banking trade body UK Finance. This is Money is part of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday & Metro media group, Get a discount code to save on your internet security, Listen to podcasts and books for less with these offers, Get the ultimate broadband and entertainment bundle, Get great deals on existing and new plans, Have a clean house and save money with these offers, The most vulnerable time of the year: Britons bombarded as fraudsters impersonate DPD and Royal Mail to grab personal and card details. In 2017, this volume has more than halved to just one in three of all payments, and it's forecast to halve again in ten years to just one in six. "In Scotland, no notes - neither Bank of Scotland nor Bank of England, are legal tender.". And critically, do we want to leave people behind? Improving our national infrastructure with better broadband and innovative banking solutions will help include some. ... it's worth risking losing them to save on the costs of handling cash. This is Money interviewed chief cashier of the Bank of England, Victoria Cleland, last year. This can’t be legal. If cash is not allowed, your client runs the risk of alienating a portion of its client base. A business would refuse it. As our society shifts 'digital', is it acceptable that people who depend on cash should have their choice of shops limited? Just as many retailers refuse to accept cheques or £50 notes, there is nothing to stop them from not taking cash at all. There is no single point of regulatory oversight that controls the way this infrastructure is managed. "I know many people are saying 'why don't we just switch to a cashless society?' Yes. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence. A number of stores are refusing to take cash and are only accepting card payment. Many consumers want the option to use cash, more vulnerable people rely on it, and as a country it's the fallback if parts of the complex IT networks that support digital payments fail. Our energy supplier went under days after I switched for a better deal - but I was £100 in credit: Will I automatically get money back? They are legal currency and therefore count as cash all over Britain. Bugatti shows off its new Bolide track car in impressive footage, UK's first garage for charging electric vehicles opens in Braintree, The Shelby SuperCar Tuatara is the world's fastest road car, Land Rover Defender 90 in the British woodlands, Ford unveils an electric transit van with a 217-mile range, UK's first autonomous electric delivery vehicle revealed, Experts urge Government not to go ahead with hands-free driving, Bentley blower is back! I know that they don't have to take over a certain amount in coins (£20 in £1, £10 in silver etc) but I'm fairly certain that they can't refuse cash for … When shops refuse to take cash from these people, they leave them vulnerable to bad actors, Tullett adds. But for many, this is not an answer - cash is vital. And there was good news coming for people who rely on cash, but are finding it harder to get hold of with bank branches closing and ATMs being removed. There is no law against a business refusing to accept cash for goods and services or only accepting cash for goods and services. Nor is there yet a digital alternative for the domestic violence victim who survives by squirrelling away cash from their partner who controls everything they spend online. Pros and cons of refusing cash 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). - I don't want that, because there are many vulnerable people who need cash," he said. Some links in this article may be affiliate links. "The Government has said that once we leave the EU in January it will change the rules so if you want to get cash out form a supermarket you don't have to buy anything," he said. The contactless revolution is taking over but we'll regret... Meet the woman behind the most seen signature in Britain: We... Summer holidays abroad could be back on the table - so what are the best debit and credit cards to beat overseas fees? The comments below have not been moderated. The short answer is that federal legal tender laws require creditors to accept payment denominated in dollars, but generally do not require businesses to accept any particular form of payment … Would you shrug your shoulders and use a card, or be irritated that someone else had decided how you should pay? You can unsubscribe at any time. Sweden is a case study to observe closely. But on Monday, San Francisco Police Department Chief Bill Scott said that businesses that refuse to accept cash are breaking the law. Or, for someone living on the breadline, of making sure that they cannot go overspent – after all, with cash, you either have it or you don't. This is an infrastructure largely run by commercial companies and it's funded largely through fees per cash transaction paid by retailers and banks (not directly by consumer) – i.e. PrayPal: The Church of England now accepts contactless donations. If you're someone who can't or won't use digital payment – for many reasons – you can be left excluded from many parts of society. Money Saving Expert Martin's answer was simple, the Mirror reports. The issue is not just that cash is difficult to get, but that even if you have it, it can be difficult to spend. Calls for legalisation of e-scooters grow as Halfords reports a huge rise in sales of the controversial products during the pandemic, He also recorded a podcast debating whether. Unless there is a state or local law prohibiting it, businesses are entirely within their legal right to turn down cash payments and claims to the contrary are false. Here in the UK, legislation is much the same. Unfortunately, these are often in rural areas where there is no bank branch, leaving communities with no other means of accessing cash. Natalie Ceeney: Many consumers want the option to use cash. However, we simply can't take our cash infrastructure for granted. But most of us have at some time been met with puzzled looks and a refusal when we’ve proffered a Royal Bank of Scotland … If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That includes: the printing of new notes, the running of cash machines and the distribution networks that supply ATMs and retailers with cash. We now use contactless cards to pay for one in seven of all transactions and even the Church of England now accept donations by contactless in many churches. "It means if you have a court awarded debt against you, if someone tries to settle and they're paying in legal tender you cannot refuse it. The short answer: yes. I tend to look at this way….“money” these days can take lots of different forms. For retailers, as fewer customers pay in cash - particularly in towns and cities, and where there are fewer bank branches - the process of cashing in or collecting notes and coins at their bank becomes increasingly expensive. While the viral posts correctly identify cash as legal tender, they misunderstand the legal consequences of that status. When only a small fraction of customers pays in cash, it's worth risking losing them to save on the costs of handling cash. However, if the creditor enforces the debt by filing a civil complaint in court to recover damages from breach of contract, it is unlikely that the creditor would prevail. This change needs to be managed properly, not just by encouraging innovation which enables more people to participate in the digital economy, but also by planning for a viable cash infrastructure which means people aren't left behind. The short answer is yes, a store can refuse to take cash. He pointed out that in some parts of the country, the only thing that's legal tender is, in fact, coins. The entire UK cash infrastructure costs around £5billion each year. First, how robust is the digital system when we have seen multiple IT failures in recent months alone that restrict access to online banking and card payments? And yet, the reality is that while more of us prefer to use cards, phones or even our watches, cash will be needed for decades to come. Martin Lewis has said that shops are within their rights to only allow card payments during the Covid-19 pandemic- and are not breaking the law by refusing to accept cash. Banks warn over negative interest rates: Big lenders urge caution as BoE weighs up whether to go below zero for the first time in history, 'UK equities could be the perfect way to play a global reopening at a fair price': Tom Becket talks opportunities for 2021 on the INVESTING SHOW. There will come a point (and there are many examples already) when the easiest thing for a retailer to do is to stop accepting cash. Over the past 20 years we've been prodded to pay our bills by direct debit and use contactless cards for public transport. — not that I ever use cash (no I’m not rich…credit cards help manage money). There isn't yet an easy alternative for the elderly person living alone who has a neighbour help with occasional shopping – giving over a £20 note limits their risk to £20, whereas handing over a card risks losing all of their savings. While there isn't sufficient evidence to show that cash is riskier than card, it's prompted many Australians to argue that because cash is legal tender businesses must accept it under law. For example, some states require that a landlord accept rent payments in cash. ", When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Or when you go to rent a car, you have to have a credit card for payment. This new £60,000 BMW iX3 electric SUV has a soundtrack written by composer Hans Zimmer: Will it hit the right note with drivers? I know Ken has the wonderful idea to get cash of the buses in London, but surely they have enough change for a tenner. explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. There are around 2.2million people who are almost entirely dependent on cash to live their lives. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. Here, shops and transport accept payments through cards or via an app and only a small number of banks handle cash. But that brought up the question of what, exactly, legal tender was. Just like if you went in with a jar of pennies and wanted to pay for something. Richard Miller, Addlestone, UK As ever in the UK this is somewhat muddy - and my advice is to check with your solicitor. Can a business refuse to take cash for a transactiion? Sign up to our FREE newsletter below. These are vulnerable groups such as elderly people, the disabled and people in debt or with low incomes, or those who live in rural communities where digital payments simply don't work. "all United States money as identified above are a valid and legal offer of payment for debts when tendered to a creditor. This might be something you've already experienced. As mentioned, there is no federal law that mandates private businesses to accept cash as a form of payment. “I know retailers can refuse to accept too many coins, but in my case, I didn’t even have the time to take the notes out of my purse.” Apparently, it is not illegal to refuse cash payment. We've been using physical cash for centuries. Any business can decide the tender they accept. every time we withdraw money from an ATM, or each time a business deposits cash at its bank – the provider of the infrastructure gets paid. Or lose their independence because their ways of coping simply don't work in a digital economy? For some, cash is still the most convenient method of payment. All parts of the economy relied on cash payments, so paying for the security vans that moved the money to banks or topped up ATMs was shared across a massive base of transactions. British marque completes reborn 1920s racer, Lord Blunkett 'never envisaged' disabled Child Trust Fund issues, Electric cars could reap benefits from new green number plates, 'UK shares can do well when the world reopens': Tom Becket, Kar-go Delivery Bot: UK's first autonomous electric delivery vehicle. As to whether it's time to switch to a cashless society, Martin had made an excellent point. Absolutely. We do not write articles to promote products. “They are likely to use informal services, which are more open to being exploited.” Contactless: Now, one in seven transactions is via contactless technology. Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has warned shoppers that shops can refuse to accept cash as payment - and has said that they are not breaking the law. Last month, This is Money assistant editor Lee Boyce revealed why he believes we would regret it if Britain turned into a cashless society. Like a jet for the road: Hennessey reveals the 311mph Top Gun-style supercar that it claims will be the most powerful on the planet, Is the collapse of the high street impacting YOUR business? I don't think that's a society that many of us would want. This is where the pressure points will develop. "The legal tender thing is interesting," Martin said. So basic economics tells us that either retailers and banks need to pay a lot more for using cash, or providers of the infrastructure need to radically cut their costs. 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