It is becoming easier and easier for us to carry around our debit card in Texas to make purchases compared to actually cash in our wallets. Some of us feel safer because we aren't increasing our chances of being robbed. Businesses are keeping less cash on hand and for their deposits for the same reason. And yes, some businesses have decided to not accept cash any longer as payment for their goods or services. But is this legal? You would think we wouldn't have to ask this question.

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Mid 1990s

My first job was at Burger King in the Westwood Shopping Center on the West Loop in Tyler. This was the mid 1990s and debit cards were just becoming a thing for consumers to carry. At Burger King, we didn't have a credit card machine so it was cash only to do business with the restaurant. There were multiple days or nights that I could have upwards of $5,000 to $6,000 in cash in a deposit bag for the bank. At that time, if someone did come in with a debit or credit card, we got weird looks for not taking cards.

In 2024

Now, retailers could get weird looks from customers if they are told that the business doesn't take cash. Electronic transactions have become faster and easier to carry out to both retailers and customers. I'll be honest, I don't carry a lot of cash on me anymore.

Is it illegal to refuse cash as payment?

The short answer is no, it is not. This answer can be found at federalreserve.gov. It states:

There is no federal statute mandating that a private business, a person, or an organization must accept currency or coins as payment for goods or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether to accept cash unless there is a state law that says otherwise.

So what if a business refuses my cash payment?

Well, the only answer I have is to take it up with the management of that business. If cash is all you have then surely something can be worked out.

The Future

Checks went by the wayside a long time ago. People still use them but it is very few that do. I haven't written one in 20 years. The same fate, whether you like it or not, may come to cash as well.

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