People should be able to pay in cash if they want, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has said.
Yesterday, the Department of Finance published the Report of the Retail Banking Review which predicted further declines in the use of cash as people increasingly pay for items online or through apps.
However, it also underlined that society is not yet ready to fully make the switch to a cashless society and the Government must consider how “access to cash” should be facilitated.
The Department of Finance is expected to draw up a bill in response to the review and Minister Donohoe said it is important that consumers are given a choice of payment options.
“What we are looking at is looking many, many years ahead into the future of our economy,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.
“And recognising that it’s very likely we’ll see an increasing number of people that will be making payments by their phone, by their watches and not using cash at all.
“We recognise that trend, know why it’s happening but still need to recognise that a number of people within our society… want to use cash.
“I do believe that we will need to look at the minimum standards of cash usage that we want to have in our economy, that banks need to provide or, for example, shops and cafes need to accept.”
Card is king
When asked whether customers should equally have the right to pay by card, Minister Donohoe replied, “I do believe it should go both ways.”
He also admitted that he regarded businesses that never accept card payments with suspicion.
“I would question why it happens - absolutely,” he said.
“And I do believe that we need to have a broad discussion about how payments are made within our economy, given the big changes that are now happening with regard to the nature of currency.
“And if I’m in an environment that never takes a debit card, of course I’m suspicious as to why.
“But at the same time, I recognise that for lots of businesses, there can be reasons on the day why the machine isn’t working.”
In the second quarter of 2022, online and mobile banking payments in Ireland hit record levels with 36 million payments made online.
Main image: A split of Paschal Donohoe and some cash.