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Do businesses have to accept cash? Federal and state laws don’t require it

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  • Staff Report 

In response to growing inquiries, the Federal Reserve has clarified that there is no federal law requiring private businesses to accept cash payments. This announcement comes as an increasing number of businesses, including those in the entertainment sector, have opted to go cashless since the onset of the pandemic. The Federal Reserve’s statement highlights that private entities can decide their payment policies unless state legislation dictates otherwise.


New York State, as per the Department of State, currently does not prohibit businesses from operating on a cashless basis. However, legislative efforts, such as Senate Bill 342, aim to mandate merchants to accept cash for transactions, with certain exemptions allowed. The bill is presently under review by the Consumer Protection Committee, though its prospects for passage remain uncertain.

Contrastingly, New York City has established regulations against cashless operations, showcasing a divide in policy approaches within the state. The evolving landscape indicates a broader conversation about access, inclusivity, and the future of financial transactions in the digital age.



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