Can a Business Refuse Cash Payment?


Quick Answer

A business can refuse cash payment. There is no Federal mandate requiring a private business, person or organization to accept cash as a form of payment. Individual states, however, are allowed to mandate that businesses take cash payments.

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Full Answer

A private businesses is permitted to create its own policies about forms of payment it accepts. A gas station, for example, is not required to accept large bills. A bus company does not have to accept pennies for bus fare. Many airlines do not accept any forms of cash for payment.

The Coinage Act, or Section 31 of U.S. Code 5103, which is titled "Legal tender," states that U.S. coins and currency are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes and dues. Notes from the Federal reserve, Federal banks and national banks are included in this distinction. This means that U.S. businesses must accept legal tender in dollars, but not necessarily in cash dollars.

Businesses are charged fees for accepting credit card payments. While some businesses do not accept forms of cash, a 2013 study by Intuit showed that 55 percent of small businesses do not accept credit cards. An estimated 66 percent of purchases are completed with credit cards, debit cards or gift cards as of 2013, according to an infographic from Community Merchants USA.

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