Philadelphia City Council passes cashless store ban

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia could soon require all stores to accept cash.

The next step is for Mayor Jim Kenney to sign off on the bill.

On Thursday, City Council passed a ban on cashless stores.

Councilman Bill Greenlee says stores that only accept credit cards or payment apps discriminate against the poor.

"As business models evolve we must ensure that it's not discriminatory. Nearly 10% of Philly residents do not have credit I am happy to say @PHLCouncil just passed my legislation requiring businesses to accept cash as payment," Greenlee tweeted.

But if the ban becomes law, Amazon has told the city it would not consider bringing Amazon Go to Philadelphia--a cashless brick and mortar store that would employ about a hundred workers. That would be troubling says Councilman Allen Domb, who voted against the ban.

"Our main goal in Philadelphia is to create more opportunity and more jobs so more people can be banked," said Domb.

Greenlee says there is an exception in the bill for so-called membership clubs, think BJ's. He thinks that and a few minor tweaks could work for Amazon.

"I think between that, I think we can work out this issue with Amazon," said Greenlee.

Some retailers are worried about the added costs to their business and the danger of criminals trying to steal cash.

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Councilmember seeks cashless stores ban. John Rawlins reports during Action News at Noon on February 5, 2019.

But for now Amazon has put the city on notice.

"They do not believe that the current bill allows them to bring the Amazon Go concept," said Sylvie Gallier Howard with the City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce.

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