The Guardian has an article about the number of businesses in the U.K. that are refusing to accept cash in payment, notably for food and drink, and services.
The article and the comments to it point out the difficulties such policies may cause for people who do not have or cannot get bank accounts – but also the benefit for the businesses, who do not have to keep or tally cash.
The comments in particular point out the privacy and control implications of having all one’s transactions recorded – and the data often sold – electronically.
Some other countries, notably Sweden, are doing away with cash – or at least it is common to see businesses that do not accept it.
Is this happening in Canada? Should it? Do we have an issue with what Americans call “the unbanked”? And if we do, should businesses have to solve that issue, if they think they can make more money by refusing cash?
The Currency Act (section 8) makes Canadian bank notes legal tender, as well as coins up to set amounts. I presume that the reason that this does not prevent businesses from declining cash is that a purchase transaction is not, at the time it is made, the payment of a debt. The doctrine of legal tender allows people to pay debts with currency, but does not oblige anyone to incur the debt in the first place.