By Charlie De Mar

(CBS) — Faster, safer, more efficient – even greener. Those are just some of the reasons a handful of Chicago businesses are going cashless and only accepting credit or debit cards.

But one Chicago alderman says the practice pushes some consumers away.

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CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reports.

The business that have gone cashless say it’s improved their day-to-day operations, but if a new city ordinance goes through, those businesses could face steep fines and potentially lose their licenses.

At Wicker Park’s new Xuan Tea Shop, you’ll find  authentic teas from China, Taiwan, even Japan.

What you won’t see is any cash. Owner Keqi Meng is following in the footsteps of several other Chicago business and only taking plastic.

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“We don’t need to go to the bank every day to deposit cash — that’s the biggest reason,” Meng says.

Goddess and the Baker has been cashless since August, saying it’s safer, quicker and overall more efficient.

Sweet Green Salads, another cashless business, says cash transactions dropped from 40 percent to 10 percent of all sales.

But the trend doesn’t sit well with 14 Ward Ald. Ed Burke, who notes U.S. currency is supposed to be good for any debts.

“It’s user-unfriendly,” he says of cashless transactions. “It’s elitist and it shouldn’t be permitted.”

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He has introduced a measure that would require those cashless businesses to start taking cash or face steep fines – and potentially lose their operating license.

Charlie De Mar