Los Angeles looking to stop businesses from banning cash payments

Sophie Flay Image
Thursday, October 5, 2023
Los Angeles looking to stop businesses from going cashless
The Los Angeles City Council is looking to prevent businesses from going entirely cashless, to protect the unbanked.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Should restaurants and other businesses be able to turn down cash payments?

The Los Angeles City Council is saying no.

"We have so many people in the city that are unbanked or underbanked. And being a cashless business doesn't allow them to participate in the economy at all," said Los Angeles City Councilmember Heather Hutt.

According to the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, about 7% of Californians are unbanked - meaning someone who does not have a bank account.

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed Hutt's motion to ban cashless businesses.

"We are seeing that other cities have adapted, and we need to adapt it here in Los Angeles in this huge economy," Hutt said.

While tapping and swiping are becoming the norm, San Francisco and Berkeley have similar bans in place. But Bill Maurer, the dean of social sciences at UC Irvine, says we can't forget about folks who live in a predominantly cash-based society, like elderly folks.

"Some people with disabilities have a hard time when they're using a non cash means of payment. And, and particularly in our part of the world, recent immigrants or refugees, people who haven't yet set up a bank account, often have a hard time with cashlessness," Maurer said.

This cashless business ban is not going into effect immediately. The city attorney is drafting specific recommendations to put the policy into place.