In a letter written on April 13th, 2021, the Consumer Choice in Payment Coalition expressed its concerns with Major League Baseball's decision to eliminate cash payments at ballparks and stadiums. The letter is as follows:
April 13, 2021
Mr. Rob Manfred
Commissioner of Major League Baseball
1271 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
Dear Commissioner Manfred:
On behalf of the Consumer Choice in Payment Coalition, I am writing to express our disappointment and our strong objection upon learning that, in the 2021 season, fans at no fewer than fourteen Major League ballparks will not be allowed to pay with cash for game tickets, food and beverages, souvenirs, or other concessions.
The Coalition is a diverse group of consumer representatives, businesses, and nationwide trade associations that, first, are committed to preserving the choice of all consumers to pay for their purchases with cash, and second, seek to encourage and preserve safe, convenient, and widespread access to and use of cash throughout the nation.
As a result of these ballparks’ changes in policy, fans who visit them and want to buy something, as well as all the parks’ vendors, necessarily will be forced to bear the costs of the network and transaction fees that are charged on all noncash purchases. Further, the absence of a cash choice leaves many segments of the population that do not have access to credit or debit cards without a viable means to participate at the ballpark. For all such purchases, they instead will be required to pay with credit or debit cards, smartphone apps or, at some parks, prepaid cards available through so-called “reverse ATMs,” which can be inconveniently placed.
A growing number of U.S. consumers prefer to use cash to pay for their purchases whenever possible. They value the convenience of cash and the ability that it offers to safeguard their financial privacy, as well as the assurance that cash always will be accepted in payment, anytime and anywhere, without regard to power failures, systems disruptions, or network outages that, suddenly and without warning, can render cashless purchases entirely unavailable.
We are unable to see any appreciable benefit that Major League Baseball, any of its teams, or any of its fans is likely to realize in exchange for the wholly unnecessary burdens that mandating the adoption of cashless transactions imposes upon both buyers and sellers. While some advocates of eliminating cash transactions claim that, for consumers and merchants, doing so reduces the risk of being exposed to the coronavirus by handling cash, the available scientific evidence indicates that handling cash presents no more risk of exposure to the virus than does handling plastic credit or debit cards or smartphones.
The Coalition respectfully requests that you and your office exercise your best efforts to discourage MLB ballparks from prohibiting cash transactions and that you urge those that already have chosen to do so to reconsider that choice in view of the matters discussed herein. If we may provide any further information that might aid your consideration of this matter, please let me know at your earliest convenience.
Very truly yours,
Consumer Choice in Payment Coalition
1050 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
CC: Rep. Donald Payne, Jr.