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Is Ireland ready to go cashless?

As part of yesterday's Budget, the Government introduced some measures to encourage Irish people ...
Newstalk
Newstalk

11.46 14 Oct 2015


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Is Ireland ready to go cashles...

Is Ireland ready to go cashless?

Newstalk
Newstalk

11.46 14 Oct 2015


Share this article


As part of yesterday's Budget, the Government introduced some measures to encourage Irish people to stop carrying cash, and to switch to electronic payments.

Cash is slowly being phased out in many societies as technology evolves to facilitate secure, convenient, and cheap electronic payments. Ireland remains one of the countries which still relies heavily on physical cash.

A 12c charge is being put on ATM withdrawals - although this will be capped at €2.50, or €5 - depending on the kind of card you're using. 

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It was announced yesterday that the limit on the maximum transaction which you can make through contactless payments will increase from €15 to €30.

The Government is also abolishing the €5 stamp duty which is currently levied on all debit and ATM cards.

Retailer charges for processing electronic payments will also be reduced, Michael Noonan called the current fees "excessive."

New EU rules mean that interchange fees on credit cards will be halved - and the Government says that it will be monitoring the rolling out of this policy, and it will make sure that these savings are passed-on to consumers.

The Government is also halving the charges levied on debit card exchanges for retailers.

It is estimated that this could save retailers €36m a year - and for consumers it could mean more retailers installing card machines, and less limits on the amount that you can pay with a card.

The Irish Central Bank believes that the efficiencies offered by leaving cash behind could be worth as much as €1bn to the Irish economy.

Dan O'Brien, Independent Newspapers columnist and economist, spoke to George on The Right Hook today about the prospect of a cashless society. He started by discussing yesterday's new charge:

Up North 

Scandinavian countries have been leading the trend towards cashless societies.

Payments through cards and mobile payment apps have quickly become the norm there.

Swish - a mobile payment app which is a collaboration between Swedish and Danish banks - is particularly popular in these countries.

A recently published study from Sweden found that only 80 billion Swedish crowns (€8.6bn) are currently in Swedish pockets and cash registers - and of that money only between 40% and 60% is actually in regular circulation.

This is down from 106 billion crowns (€11.4bn) only six years ago.

In Denmark the government plans to no longer require businesses to accept cash payments from January 1st - although essential services like hospitals, pharmacies and post offices will still need to take physical money.

Michael Busk-Jepsen, executive director of the Danish Bankers Association commented on the plan, saying that the idea of an economy with no cash is "no longer an illusion, but a vision that can be fulfilled within a reasonable time frame."


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