BANK of Ireland is to postpone a planned hike in the fees it charges firms for handling cash until later in the year.
The 33pc rise in charges was to apply to firms lodging and withdrawing cash and cashing cheques from May 18 next.
Bank of Ireland's fee hike would have hit shops, pubs, restaurants, cafés and other cash-generating businesses hard - the very firms forced to close due to Covid-19.
Newsagents had called on the bank to reverse the planned hike in cash-handling charges, but the pleas had been ignored up to now.
The bank now says it will defer the implementation of these charges until later in the year.
It comes after AIB said it was suspending the planned introduction of maintenance and transaction fees for personal customers who have been able to avoid them up to now.
The low-interest-rate environment means banks are seeing profit margins hit, and are trying to boost their income from fees and charges to compensate for this.
Bank of Ireland, headed up by Francesca McDonagh, had told business current account holders the cost of lodging cash would rise to 80c for every €100 lodged, from 60c.
The fee for withdrawing cash is planned to increase to 80c for every €100 taken out.
The fee for exchanging notes was due to rise from €1.20 per €100 to €1.60. Fees for cashing cheques will also rise.
But in a statement, it said: "We previously said that we would keep the date for changes to cash-handling charges under review while the Covid-19 situation was evolving.
"We will now defer the implementation of these charges until later in the year."
CSNA, which is Ireland's largest independent retailer body, representing more than 1,500 convenience store owners, newsagents and forecourt operators, had called on the bank not to increase the cash-handling fees by 33pc for commercial customers.
CSNA chief executive Vincent Jennings said: "This price hike will have a negative effect on all Irish retailers and CSNA is calling on Bank of Ireland to reverse this immediately."
He said retailers were already under huge strain.