This conversation left me with a lot to think about - mostly things that I wished I pushed back on a little more, or points that didn't come to me until just as I got in bed. That's the way it goes with conversations like this, though. I'll try to keep this brief. But remember that when it comes to most things, my starting point is either the government should not be involved or should be involved less.
(There are lot of things that were brought up in the conversation that I do want to comment on, but will leave for later shows and blog posts.)
- The meat of the conversation was on cashless businesses. I don't think using cash is a human right, so I don't know why the Human Rights Commission of Austin is spending any time on it, but here we are. It should be noted the reasons why people are underbanked or unbanked to understand the full picture here. (Here is the source for this information)
According to the FDIC, the number one reason, at 52.7% of respondents, say that they don't have a bank account because they, "don't have enough money to keep in an account," with only 34% using that as the main reason they did not have a bank account. This should not be the case as there are many banks that offer a zero minimum deposit to open a checking account. But even still, its their right to not use a bank for any reason, and if they think they don't have enough money, I would suspect a large percentage are just ignorant to the options available to them. Education may be a better route than banning cashless businesses.
The rest of the reasons for unbanking or underbanking, as you can see from the survey, they revolve around some personal opinions: the second most common reason is that they, "don't trust banks." And hey, I don't trust them either. These reasons, though, don't trump a businesses right to protect themselves and their employees. If one of their employees is harmed they are likely liable, after all, so they should have the right to take measures to protect themselves and employees. The only organization that should, under all circumstances, take cash, is the government.
And if the business just doesn't want to take cash, for not other reason than they don't want to, that should be their right. They still take US dollars, just digitally.