Due to the novelty of the experience, the issue of cash and credit card payments shall be discussed in this article. Property law does not only cover real estate transactions, but also transactions involving personal property including money and other forms of payment.
DIGITAL MENU AND PAYMENT
A new and uppity coffee shop recently opened in BGC. The menu can be found in tablets mounted on the counters, and payments are done there as well. Once a customer places all their orders in the cart, payment is done through swiping of a credit card.
“What if I forgot or don’t have a credit card, will you accept cash?” I asked the staff. “Unfortunately, we will only accept credit card payments.” Said the one inside the counter.
Although the set up looked seamless and millenially modern, thoughts played in my mind of any legal implications this upscale coffee trend might have. I however, decided to play along.
LEGAL TENDER AND THE POWER OF LEGAL TENDER
Legal tender in simple terms is a medium of payment that is legally recognized as payment for debt. The law (The New Central Bank Act RA 7653) defines legal tender and the power it possesses, especially in extinguishing one’s debt:
SECTION 52. Legal Tender Power. — All notes and coins issued by the Bangko Sentral shall be fully guaranteed by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and shall be legal tender in the Philippines for all debts, both public and private: Provided, however, That, unless otherwise fixed by the Monetary Board, coins shall be legal tender in amounts not exceeding Fifty pesos (P50.00) for denominations of Twenty-five centavos and above, and in amounts not exceeding Twenty pesos (P20.00) for denominations of Ten centavos or less.
Aside from the limitations imposed on ten centavo and twenty-five centavo coins, all notes and coins (one peso and above) issued by the Central Bank, shall have the power to pay for all debts both public and private.
My understanding of this therefore is, the coffee shop that I went to legally cannot refuse cash payments. Second, it also violated Section 52 of the New Central Bank Act.
AMAZON and LAZADA, SHOPEE, ETC.
My wife who also happens to be a lawyer and is widely more intellectual than I am had questions regarding how existing online stores can operate under a similar payment scheme, such as Amazon, Lazada, Shopee, etc. I knew she was on to something.
I laid down the differences of Amazon and Lazada’s payment options, and there lies the answer. Amazon only accepts credit card payments or its variants. We however, cannot sue Amazon in the Philippines because its base operates in the US, and its servers, everywhere else.
Lazada or Shopee on the other hand, have local partners and counterparts, all within Philippine jurisdiction. These two however, unlike Amazon, have Cash on Delivery (COD) options in addition to Credit Card payments.
Corollary to this, gone are the days when your neighborhood sari-sari store will give you Halls menthol candy instead of coins for change.
There you go, all debts incurred by anyone can be settled by payment in any form if agreed by both parties. Payment of money however comes without exceptions.
Remember that when operating a business in the Philippines, credit card is still good, but so is cash.
For more questions, email: firstname.lastname@example.org