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No Card? No Service: Mom Accuses Cashless Businesses Of Discrimination, Colorado Lawmaker Takes Action

DENVER (CBS4)- Coronavirus has changed our lives in many ways including how we pay for things. Many businesses have gone cashless out of safety concerns and that has hurt more than 7 million people who don't have bank accounts.

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While some of them don't trust banks or have credit problems, according to the Federal Reserve Corporation, most don't make enough money to maintain a minimum balance.

Laura Rodriguez is among them. Her neighborhood grocery store is one of the places that has switched to plastic only.

"So, we have to drive an extra 20-30 minutes to get to stores that do take cash," said Rodriguez.

She says life is hard enough with six kids doing online school in a pandemic without having to worry about whether a business will accept her money.

"I couldn't believe in the United States that I couldn't pay with cash."

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(credit: CBS)

State Rep. Alex Valdez is in disbelief, too.

"And I thought, 'Wow, is this already not a law where you have accept to cash as payment?' and as it turns out, in Colorado, it's not," said Valdez.

He plans to change that with a bill that makes it against the law to refuse to take a cash payment. Valdez says cards are no cleaner than cash.

"Every time I walked up to a place and they said, 'We don't accept cash but hand me your credit card' I thought, 'Hhmmmm.' We aren't telling a car dealership that they have to take a suitcase of cash, we're saying, you know, for those everyday retail goods, we need to be able to allow everyone to purchase those products," said Valdez.

He said the bill is about preventing discrimination.

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Rodriguez agrees, "Not everybody is able to have a credit card or debit card in their hands. It would be marvelous if we can actually pass this bill, to be able to pay with cash and not be discriminated."

Under the bill, any business that refuses to take cash would face a fine of up to $500. A handful of other states and some large cities have similar laws in place.

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