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Central Bank says consumers will retain choice of using cash instead of electronic payments

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Consumers will continue to be able to use cash and will not be forced to use electronic payments, the Central Bank has insisted.

Research carried out by the regulator shows that predictions of the imminent demise of cash have been exaggerated.

It comes after a leading consumer group warned the Government to make sure shoppers will always have the option of paying with cash, as contactless and card payments become increasingly popular.

Some Irish shops are starting to refuse cash payments, the Consumers’ Association of Ireland has warned.

The association’s senior policy adviser, Dermott Jewell, said retailers should be told by the Government and regulators that they must always accept cash payments.

He claimed that some retailers, with the support of the banking industry, were using the Covid-19 pandemic to try to make cash payments unfashionable, while some were starting to ban the use of cash in favour of contactless card payments.

“Ireland has never been a cashless society for the very good reason that cash is hugely popular,” Mr Jewell said, adding that contactless payment does not suit a lot of people, including those living off an allowance.

Irish people made nearly 100m more contactless payments in the third quarter of 2021 compared with the last quarter of 2019, just before the pandemic hit.

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