18October2021

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National Payments Plan Aims to Save the Irish Economy €1bn a Year

National Payments Plan aims to save the Irish economy €1bn a year. Tony Grimes, chairman of the National Payments Plan and former deputy governor of the Central Bank 

The National Payments Plan has been launched with the aim of making savings of €1bn annually to the Irish economy by increasing the use of electronic forms of payment such as debit cards and electronic banking. Ireland has the second highest usage of cheques among major European countries, the highest ATM withdrawal per capita and still pays out half of all social welfare payments in cash, according to the Central Bank.

Deputy governor Stefan Gerlach said: “Operating an excessively paper-based payment system is like imposing an unnecessary tax on the economy, pulling scarce resources into activities which can be done far more effectively with electronic payments.

“Ireland can and should be a leader in the payments area – Ireland has the youngest population in Europe and has shown itself to be a very fast adopter of new technology.”

The plan has a target of doubling the number of electronic payments from 2011 to 2015.

Its recommendations include that a date would be set in 2014 at which the public sector would no longer write or accept cheques to or from business users; making new technologies such as contactless payments generally available; and increasing the dispensing of €10 notes in ATMs.

According to Tony Grimes, chairman of the National Payments Plan and former deputy governor of the Central Bank, this plan is not about closing down options for consumers and businesses, but expanding them.

“Our vision is for a society where modern forms of payment will be universally accepted and be the preferred payment choice for most. However cash will remain a widely used method of payment, while cheques continue to be available for those consumers who want to use them.’

The National Payments Plan Steering Committee was made up of representatives of consumers, business, Government, banks and the Central Bank, and the plan has now been approved by Government.

Source: Business and Leadership - National Payments Plan Aims to Save the Irish Economy €1bn a Year