QLD Australian Consumer Law - Illegal to Refuse Tender in Cash?

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now


27 January 2016
I recently had a need for a piece of brass rod, so I rang a supplier and was told they have plenty in stock, in 4-meter lengths for 6 or 7 dollars and they don't sell pieces, only full lengths. I only needed about 1 Metre but for 6 or 7 dollars the full length would be fine.

A couple of days later, I drove into town and went to the brass supplier to purchase the length of the rod. I asked the assistant if he could cut it in half so I could fit it in the car and he said, "no problem". I then offered to pay for it with cash and was informed that they don't accept cash over the counter only credit cards.

"OK, here's my credit card then", but their minimum card amount is 20 dollars. So how do I get the length of rod for 6 or 7 dollars then? He suggested I buy 3 lengths. In the end I bought 2 lengths and a piece of thin sheet, I might be able to use later, maybe?

On the drive back home, about an hour and a half each way I might add, I vaguely remember learning something in school about it being against the law to refuse legal tender (cash) as payment but that was before credit cards and computers. My question is more of one of interest, I'm not likely to go back and harass them for 20 bucks.

Is it illegal to refuse legal tender in the form of cash for a legal transaction under Australian Consumer Law? Please explain?

P.S. Would anyone like to acquire 3 x 2metre lengths of brass rod, going cheap, only 6 or 7 dollars?

Tim W

LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
No, it's fine to refuse cash.

There are some limits on small denomination payments by coin,
but otherwise, as a matter of law,
no business is obliged to accept cash ahead of any other method.*

You may find this helpful

* This might be different to what you have seen on American television