Irish businesses are divided on the possibility of going cashless within a decade, with more than half of Dublin firms believing it is a real possibility, new research shows.
The general increase in cashless payments over cash transactions is viewed positively by almost two thirds of businesses nationally, according to a BOI Payment Acceptance (BOIPA) survey.
This has left Irish businesses finely split over whether they expect to become fully cashless in the next 10 years, with 47% believing this is now a distinct possibility.
The counties most confident of this transition are Dublin (55%) and Galway (51%).
Wicklow (50%), Laois, Limerick (49%), Kildare, Tipperary, Waterford, and Carlow (48%) also scored above the national average.
At the other end of the scale, Donegal businesses were the least optimistic – with only 36% believing it to be possibility.
Similarly, just over 40% of businesses in Kerry, Cavan and Louth also felt that they could go cashless in the next 10 years.
While recent data has demonstrated that accelerated payment habits during the Covid-19 pandemic have stuck, Ireland has progressed to being a leading adopter of cash alternatives compared to other countries, according to BOIPA.
Cashless payments are the preferred method of payment for shopping offline across all countries surveyed at 55%. However, the preference in Ireland is higher at 63%.
Irish consumers are more inclined to pay by card, digital wallet or online across a range of situations including grocery shopping, eating out, at the fuel pump, at public institutions and for entertainment.
The availability of card and contactless facilities also impact consumers’ perception of businesses with people living in Ireland perceiving businesses with card and/or online payment options as being more modern and customer-centric.
Only 3% of people surveyed do not use card or digital payments in any situation. This is half the average across the other countries surveyed (6%).
The popularity of digital wallets and wearable devices to make payments continues to rise with Irish consumers.
Some 65% of people surveyed now use mobile wallets, with 38% of those using this method of payment several times a day. Some 67% are using virtual wallets for online spend with 24% using this option several times a day.
A further 15% of participants who do not yet use virtual or mobile wallets claimed that they intend to use them in the near future.
The survey also shows Irish people’s uptake of digital payments also translates into higher digital engagement with banking services with mobile and internet banking more popular in Ireland.
Almost 74% of bank customers use mobile banking two to three times a month with 27% using it once a day.
OIPA managing director Conor Quirke said: “While the high number of people preferring digital alternatives over cash comes as no surprise, this survey offers rich insights into where Ireland fits against other markets in being a leading adopter of innovative payment options.
“The technological advancements within Irish banking and financial services has been matched by merchant and consumer appetite for payment solutions that make day-to-day transactions simpler and more convenient.”