Federal lawmakers concerned how cashless economy could affect minorities, underserved communities

More businesses are moving toward cashless payment options, and some have even stopped accepting cash all together.

But members of Congress are worried about who could be left behind in this digital transition.

Some researchers say the pandemic dramatically accelerated this cashless economy because more people were shopping online and banks were closed too.

Some financial advisors said about 7 million Americans are unbanked which means they don’t have a bank account with many of them Black and Hispanic households as well as those who are homeless.

Lawmakers say a federal requirement for businesses to use cash may not be the right solution because that could hurt companies, especially new ones.

One expert said using cash comes with increased risks like needing more security in and around businesses.

On the other hand, there’s a concern that moving toward a cashless economy could worsen disparities especially in places with food insecurities.

“The idea that one cannot use cash, legal tender for food for themselves and families is absolutely devastating. We’re talking about people who want to pay for what they need, they’re not asking for it for free and to not be able to use your money is a form of economic exclusion and as Ms. Waters said its economic discrimination and segregation,” Norma Garcia, policy counsel and director for Mission Economic Development Agency.

Lawmakers say there are also privacy concerns with transitioning to a digital economy including better protection for your information online.

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