Cash or credit? A growing trend doesn't give consumers a choice

MILWAUKEE — Cash, credit, or debit? At a handful of Milwaukee area businesses, you don't get to choose. Now, there's an effort to crackdown on an emerging trend of going cashless.

Every day we move closer to a cashless society. Fiserv Forum officials experimented with six cashless food vendors last basketball season. Earlier in September, the BMO Harris Pavilion hosted a cashless concert. Goddess and The Baker in Brookfield does not take cash, and neither does Basse's Taste of Country in Colgate this season.

Fiserv Forum had 11 cashless vendors last season.

Business who go cashless say it prevents robberies and cuts down on customer wait times, and time spent counting paper money. However, not everyone likes the idea.

Republican Representative Gary Tauchen authored a bill requiring Wisconsin retailers to accept cash or be fined upwards of $5,000. Tauchen's bill is still in the early stages.

"We need to make sure we protect the consumer and give them the options they want," Rep. Tauchen said. "There's about 15% of Wisconsin residents who don't have credit or debit cards."

Basse's Taste of Country in Colgate is going cashless this fall.

Rep. Gary Tauchen

Tauchen said cashless establishments leave out low income people without bank accounts or credit cards. In addition, he says it leaves out seniors who worry about data breaches and prefer cash.

"We want to make sure they're protected -- they have options," Tauchen said.

So far, only a small number of places in our area have gone cashless. None spoke to Contact 6 for this story.  Often, they have kiosks where people can put cash onto a card at no cost, and that card can then be used anywhere.