MADRID – On May 28, the amendment to the law came into effect that stipulates that consumers have the right to pay with cash. Cash payments should therefore not be refused by any establishment.
This concerns Article 82.4 of the General Law 24/2021 for the Defense of Consumers and Users. Not allowing a customer to pay cash is considered a violation based on the change. Cash payments are, however, subject to the limits set by tax regulations. This is for the prevention and combating of tax fraud.
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In general, failure to accept payment in cash will be considered a minor offence. It is only a serious or very serious violation under certain conditions. For example, when the person who refuses takes advantage of the need for certain products or services. Or when, for example, an entrepreneur repeatedly refuses cash payments or causes serious, unjust, and unforeseeable social disturbances with refusal.
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The considered fine for committing minor offenses in this regard varies from €150 to €10,000.
Measures to prevent financial exclusion
When the Royal Decree was approved, the Platform Denaria welcomed this initiative to guarantee the right of consumers to pay in cash and to impose sanctions on institutions that refuse to accept this payment method. This week, the platform hosted a conference titled “Access to Cash, a Universal Right and a Barrier to Financial Exclusion”. The speakers agreed on the “essential” role that money plays in the proper functioning of society and the economy.
“Right now the circulating capital is higher than ever and we must not forget that there are 1.6 billion people worldwide without banks, so we cannot talk about cash without taking into account the fact that there are important populations, also in rural areas, where day-to-day activities depend on cash and would therefore be completely excluded,” emphasised María Valldecabres, general manager of the National Coin and Stamp Factory (FNMT).
Measures against financial exclusion
The Denaria platform has put forward several proposals to prevent financial exclusion, including the abolition of restrictions on cash handling. This was, following the Royal Decree that takes effect this Saturday.
Another of the measures proposed by the organisation is to draw up a map of risks and situations of financial exclusion, taking into account geographical, socio-economic and cultural factors. This card should serve as the basis for deploying solutions that guarantee the right of access to cash and other financial services.
Maximum distance between ATMs
In this sense, and to improve access to cash, the Denaria Platform promotes establishing a maximum distance between ATMs as the most important and effective measure.
It is also being considered to define the money network as critical national infrastructure; establishing a public-private partnership to install more ATMs in rural and depopulated areas. Finally, the role of the Spanish National Post Office Correos should be strengthened as an instrument to ensure the execution of basic financial operations.