Say goodbye to notes and coins: How Covid is bringing an end to cash in Ireland

Half of all consumers believe that cash should be withdrawn from circulation in the next 10 years.
Say goodbye to notes and coins: How Covid is bringing an end to cash in Ireland

47% of over-55s see themselves becoming cashless by 2025. Picture: Pexels

The majority of Irish consumers believe the country will become fully cashless within five years.

Covid-related health restrictions have led to a surge in contactless transactions over the past nine months accelerating the reduction in the use of coins and notes to purchase goods and services.

A new report has found that contactless was a popular payment method before the pandemic, especially among the under-35 age group and those living in highly urban areas. Since the crisis, however, more people are using contactless across almost all age groups, regions, and social classes.

88% of Irish consumers have used mostly card to pay for goods and services in-store during the pandemic, according to the report published today by BOI Payment Acceptance, an alliance between Bank of Ireland and EVO Payments International.

Just 47% of the over-55 age group say they used contactless payment frequently before Covid; since the crisis, however, 81% say they are using it more frequently than before.

While notes and coins are still being used, the report found as many as 54% believe they will be cashless in the next five years or already consider themselves to be. 20% of under-35s say they are cashless now.

The over-55s are the most likely to see themselves becoming cashless by 2025 (47%). Among that age group, 84% say that Covid-19 had had an influence on their decision to move away from notes and coins. 

Almost half of all consumers believe that either some or all physical cash should be withdrawn from circulation in the next 10 years. Among that group, 48% say physical cash should be phased out because coins and notes are unhygienic and spread Covid-19.

Brian Cleary, Managing Director of BOI Payment Acceptance, said consumers are now using contactless payment on a massive scale. 

"For the government, this report provides a glimpse into the future: Irish consumers are willing to embrace the cashless society, provided adequate supports are in place for vulnerable groups and rural regions.”

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