Today we are one step closer to advancing consumer justice for every Oregonian! Thanks to the passage of Senate Bill 1565B, which passed with bipartisan support, Oregonians will no longer be turned away for being unable to pay for goods or services with a debit or credit card. When SB1565B goes into effect this summer, most businesses will be required to accept cash payments along with other payment options. This is a huge victory for anyone whose payment options are limited to cash.
Since we began hosting community-based and culturally-specific listening sessions in July 2021, we heard about the shame and frustration of wanting to use cash for payment and not having other options when a business refuses to accept cash. At these listening sessions, we heard from Oregonians in communities that have been historically and systematically harmed by unfair consumer marketplace practices: elderly, rural, Black, and Indigenous Oregonians; people of color, people living with disabilities, and immigrants.
According to data from the FDIC and the U.S. Census Bureau, some of these communities have the highest rates of being unbanked, or not having a bank or credit union account.*
Percentage of unbanked U.S. households
Percentage of unbanked Oregon households
Unbanked rates were higher among certain communities:
- Households with income that varies greatly month-to-month 10.7% 10.7%
- Hispanic households 12.2% 12.2%
- Black households 13.8% 13.8%
- Working-age disabled households 16.2% 16.2%
- American Indian or Alaska Native households 16.3% 16.3%
There are many reasons why cash might be a person’s only way to pay for goods or services. It could have to do with personal preferences, personal budget needs, or other circumstances. But it may also be related to access. Many banks and other financial servicers charge high fees, or have other requirements for establishing and maintaining accounts that are difficult to meet. Not having enough money to meet minimum balance requirements was the primary reason for not having an account for 29% of participants in the 2019 FDIC/U.S. Census Bureau report.
SB 1565B will remove barriers for Oregonians who might not be able to establish accounts with financial institutions because of costly fees and instead use cash for their financial transactions. We look forward to the implementation of this bill, and are excited to see the positive impact it will have on our communities as we move toward recovery from the pandemic
To learn more about SB1565B, visit the Oregon State Legislature website.
*2019 data from FDIC and U.S. Census Bureau for the percentage of households that were unbanked in 2019. Unbanked means no one in the household had a checking or savings account at a bank or credit union.