Pennies are usually found in between couch cushions, and in the “leave a penny, take a penny” tray at the liquor store. You can’t use them in parking meters or vending machines. So, what is the point of having them? As a business owner, you may have thought, maybe you can refuse to accept pennies from customers all together.
► The Law on Currency
U.S. currency includes cash, credit cards, and checks or money orders. The federal law, Coinage Act of 1965, says that coins and cash are “legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues.” However, the federal government is not going to tell you what you will or will not accept for payments. Your private business does not have to take all types of legal tender. It can decide whatever type of payment it wants.
► Business Policies
Some businesses have decided to change their own policies on the pennies. They find that counting pennies is a waste of time and have began to either round up or down. Of course, a business needs to consider if this will upset their customers by appearing to be taking advantage of them one penny at a time. For example, a few years ago, Chipotle had tried saving some time by rounding up or down to avoid pennies (secretly), but when the word got out, it really upset their customers. So, Chipotle changed their policy to round down only in favor of the consumer.
The federal government does not limit your business’ decision to accept pennies, but your state or local government may have its own laws that regulate how private businesses accept currency. You would have to check with your state and local laws on this or consult with a business attorney knowledgeable of the laws pertaining to your business. Contact Axis Legal to evaluate the legality of your business practices and policies involving payments.
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