Retail Banking Review

Retail Banking Review

December 5th, 2022

This week saw the release of a number of documents from both the CentralBank and Department of Finance regarding , among other things,the future of cash, and the possibility that shops may be required by law to accept cash as one of their accepting instruments.

The Banking Review considers retail banking , the landscape and changes ,competition, climate ,access ,mortgage, SME credit, consumer credit, current and savings accounts, consumer-products, staffing, and the outlook.  There is also a section entitled “access to cash ” which we provide

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You will note that in one part, there is a statement “the strategy shall consider, and consult on whether to legislate pre-emptively to give the minister of finance the power to require certain classes of firms,sectors or subsectors to accept or facilitate (to an appropriate level) the acceptance of cash, and also, if it should be government policy that public bodies should accept or facilitate acceptance of cash for the payment of goods, services, taxes, levies, or charges.

While the Association is mindful that each of our members, (by virtue of the importance placed by the State in ensuring that those vital and necessary goods we sell should be accessible to our customers) will deem our businesses to be “essential services “, we will ensure that there will be powers to derogate from any mandatory requirement to accept cash in every part ( or at every time) of the business .

We are very comforted by the acceptance that the current “Limbo” our members are in with ATM’s that are not provided by the bank will change, and that those providers will now come under the Regulatory control of the Central Bank, as will all Cash-in-Transit companies.
These sectors have been a cause of great concern to the Association and potentially affected members ever since we learned that the Banking Guarantees did NOT cover ATM’s that were once owned by the banks. In 2015, all ATMs were operated by the banks, that figure is down to 25% at the end of 2022.
Cash has significant additional costs; it can create extra headaches for internal and external security and most certainly incurs more handling and administration. Whether a retailer banks directly or has the cash looked after by a CIT firm, there are costs and fees applied. These are considered euphemistically as Costs of Doing Business and while they are, and we are naturally concerned when these costs become a drain on us, we need to accept that unless those in charge of overseeing Fees levied for credit and debit cards are forced to accept their societal obligations, we will continue, in many instances, to find that cash, not plastic, is less costly.

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