Councilwoman's ordinance would stop businesses from being cashless in Detroit

They used to say 'cash is king.' Now more and more establishments say - cash not accepted. - and for some people - that's a serious problem.

"You have to give people choices and to rob them of that choice of using cash," said Councilwoman Angela Whitfield-Callaway. "It's a legal tender - you should be able to use cash wherever you go."

Whitfield-Calloway represents District 2 - she says when stores and venues don't accept cash - they're discriminating against those without credit or debit cards..

"You are excluding the homeless - you are excluding senior citizens - especially in the City of Detroit," she said. "You're excluding youth. A lot of Black and brown people in the City of Detroit do not have a bank account, and they transact in cash."

A University of Michigan study shows 25 percent of Black Detroiters don't have a checking or savings account. But Calloway says she is fielding complaints from all races - from all over Metro Detroit - discouraged by cashless systems they're encountering.

"It wasn't just inconvenient - it was a little humiliating," said John Siegel.

Siegel went to a Lions pre-season game with his wife and two sons at Ford Field - not knowing the venue is cashless. He had $300 cash to spend - but says he couldn't.

"My kids got to watch all kinds of people eating popcorn and crap like that and I'm sitting there with $300 in my pocket and I can't even get them a pop," he said.

Ford Field, Little Caesars Arena and Comerica Park are all cashless - but do have a few kiosks where patrons can convert cash to a debit card.

Councilwoman Calloway says some places don't even offer that. She says she was stunned when she couldn't buy lunch one day at Detroit's Plum Market - because she had cash instead of her credit card.

Calloway says this cashless policy is not only bad for customers in the paying public, she says it's also bad for business.

Now she's championing an ordinance that will go before City Council soon - to ensure businesses give patrons a cash option as well.

"It will help everybody - it's a win for the people," she said. "And it's a win for the economy and it's a win for the businesses in our city."