Cash enemies suffer severe setback at New York headquarters

By Norbert Häring.

From New York, the Better Than Cash Alliance (Visa, Mastercard, Citibank, Bill Gates, USAID) coordinates the global fight against cash. In the financial metropolis, the city council has now decided to prohibit private companies from refusing to accept cash. The justification is a disaster for the alliance.

According to a report by “USA-Today” (1), retail stores, restaurants and bars must accept cash in any case in the future. The New York City Councils are thus, among other things, blocking Visa. The credit card company has set up a program (2) under which it pays restaurants in exchange for refusing to accept cash. The Visa press department then regularly finds a mass medium that reports extensively on this innovative restaurant and thus gives it an advertising effect. Of course, such reports do not mention that the restaurant was bribed by Visa.

Visa is one of the founding members of the Better Than Cash Alliance, which aims to eliminate cash worldwide (3). The alliance is based in New York, where generous donations were used to buy office space from the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and since then has misleadingly called itself a “UN-based organization”.

A setback for the Better Than Cash Alliance is also the justification for the measure, which was approved by a large majority: Financial inclusion. “This will ensure the digital economy is inclusive of all of us, including the most vulnerable New Yorkers,” wrote the law’s sponsor, Ritchie Torres, in a press release. Even those who don’t have a bank account, or don’t want to afford the bank fees, should be able to shop and eat anywhere.

The New York City Council emphasizes that cash is the most inclusive means of payment because anyone can use it without special technical equipment and at no extra cost.

This clearly contradicts the propaganda of the Better Than Cash Alliance, which is currently claiming financial inclusion (4) as the justification for its campaign against cash. The U.S. government, also a founding member of the Better Than Cash Alliance, has even brought together the G20, the 20 most powerful governments and their central banks, to form a Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (5), which, with the Better Than Cash Alliance as a strategic partner, is pushing back cash.

Although New York is the most symbolically significant, it is not the first local authority to prohibit the rejection of cash. New Jersey, Philadelphia and San Francisco have passed similar laws. In Massachusetts, according to a report in the “New York Times”, it has been mandatory to accept cash since 1978 (6).

In Germany, the principle of freedom of contract applies. Private businesses are free to decide how they want to be paid, at least as long as customers have alternatives and can therefore be assumed to have this freedom of choice. Public authorities cannot invoke freedom of contract due to the lack of voluntary interaction. The fact that they have no right to refuse to accept cash is something I am trying to have established by the highest court in proceedings against Hessischer Rundfunk (7), which is pending before the European Court of Justice.



This article first appeared on 26.01.2020 at Geld und mehr


Thanks to the author for the right to publish the article.


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