Cash versus credit: Businesses face several considerations.

While customers may prefer to pay for items in cash, there is no federal requirement that private businesses accept it, according to The Federal Reserve. However, four states have passed legislation requiring states accept cash payment, and there are valid reasons to consider doing so, even during a pandemic, says Nexsen Pruet attorney Yolanda Davis.

The states that have passed such laws Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Connecticut are "thinking about the 8.4 million households who don't have bank accounts, or the household that is made up of working-class Americans that don't have credit cards," said Davis, an associate in Nexsen Pruet's corporate and tax practice group based out of the firm's Charlotte office. "It's kind of making sure that those households are still able to pay for things, that have the tender for their debts or any charges that are due."

Carrie Palmer, a Nexsen Preut member attorney based out of Charleston and head of the firm's General Counsel 360 legal team, said cashless businesses have been in vogue since before the COVID-10 health crisis. Credit-only transactions can make on-premise security monitoring simpler and faster, with retail employees not having to wait for customers to fumble for change, she said.

"The point-of-sale system is a way to track revenue to make sure that the revenue-based compensation is being accurately calculated, and certainly that's easier when you're dealing in all electronic transactions," Palmer said. "There can be a lot of different reasons for it."

The issue of payment options has come in sharper focus recently, however, as a coin shortage caused by the pandemic has led many businesses to post signs asking customers to use exact change or another form of payment. The Federal Reserve began rationing coins in June, while last month, the U.S. Mint encouraged consumers to spend, deposit or exchange coins for currency.

"Until coin circulation patterns return to normal, it may be more difficult for retailers and small businesses to accept cash payments," the Mint said in a statement. "For millions of Americans, cash is the only form of payment, and cash transactions rely on coins to make change."

"People staying home, ordering in whether it's groceries or food or other things for delivery, using online payment apps, things like that means that there's less cash in circulation," Palmer said. "People that have coin jars at home that they take to a grocery store, a bank, once a...

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