It is going to be a “long time” before Ireland becomes a cashless society, according to Bonkers.ie spokesman Daragh Cassidy.
He was speaking after Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council caused controversy by changing one of its public toilets from coin to contactless payment.
The move has angered councillors, including Fine Gael’s Lorraine Hall, who told Newstalk that it is a “regressive move”.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Mr Cassidy said Ireland is still a long way from becoming a cashless society.
“I think there is this fear we are moving towards a cashless society which I think can give the impression to a lot of people that we won’t be using cash at all in few years,” he said.
“I don’t think that’s the case. I think we’re moving towards a less cash-based society and I do think we’ll see cards outweigh cash increasingly over the coming years but I still think there is going to be lots of businesses that will continue to take cash for years and even decades.”
He said the usage of cards versus cash is currently “getting up to 50/50” but noted that Irish people are still writing up to 20 million cheques per year.
“Last year, we wrote four or five cheques for every man woman and child in the country,” he said. “If you think about how long we have been trying to get rid of cheques for and we are still using them.
“So, when I hear people say cash is on the way out; banks want us to get rid of cash, the Government wants us to get rid of cash, we’re all going to have to be using cards – that’s really not the case.
“Cash use is definitely plummeting but I think a lot of that has been driven by the COVID pandemic and user behaviour
“I’m not going to deny that for the bank it is probably easier for them to use payments by card rather than cash and that it suits them but a lot of this is being driven by human behaviour; it is not necessarily just being driven by government and the banks.”
Meanwhile, Cllr Lorraine Hall told the show Dun Laoghaire’s cashless toilet will leave older people behind.
“Dun Laoghaire has one of the oldest populations in the country,” she said.
“A lot of older people depend on coins and cash for their day-to-day activities. It is a barrier for a lot of people who use the facility.
“Ideally the toilets should be hybrid. It should accept both contactless and coins; however, I understand that is not possible.
“If it is not possible to do hybrid, it should be coins only.”