Subscribe for 99¢
CASHLESS

A customer uses a smartphone to make a payment on a Square device in San Francisco. (Bloomberg photo by David Paul Morris)

ST. LOUIS  — A city alderman has launched what she said is a "pre-emptive strike" to ban stores that refuse to accept cash payments.

Alderman Beth Murphy, D-13th Ward, on Thursday introduced a proposed ordinance on the issue even though she's not aware of any retail outlets in the city that won't let people pay with dollar bills and change.

"I've read and heard (about) other cities where businesses refuse to take cash," she said. "That's why I'm doing this now.  Hopefully we won't have any."

Murphy says she's concerned about city residents lacking bank accounts and smartphones to access them.

Murphy's bill follows action earlier this year by New Jersey, San Francisco and Philadelphia to prohibit credit-only stores.  Similar efforts are underway in New York.

Her measure would exempt parking lots and garages, wholesale clubs that sell through a membership model and rentals for which posting of collateral is typically required.

Online, mail and telephone transactions also would be exempt from the proposed St. Louis ban.

Violators could be fined from $50 to $500.

Amazon, facing backlash from critics who say cashless stores discriminate against the poor, last month announced it would begin accepting cash at all its retail stores.

The online shopping giant had more than 30 stores that don't accept cash, including its book shops and Amazon Go convenience stores.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Political Fix e-newsletter

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Mark Schlinkmann is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.