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Cash bill ‘a risk to banking competitiveness’
(Pic: RollingNews.ie)

28 Feb 2024 / legislation Print

Cash bill ‘a risk to banking competitiveness’

The body that represents the main Irish banks has outlined its “significant concerns” about a proposed bill on access to cash to an Oireachtas committee.

Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) was before the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach yesterday (27 February) to discuss the draft Access to Cash Bill.

The bill, aimed at protecting the role of cash in the Irish financial system, stems from a recommendation made by the Retail Banking Review, published in November 2022.


Brian Hayes (chief executive, BPFI) told the committee that the organisation recognised the “vital importance” of cash for many consumers and small businesses and was committed to maintaining “reasonable access”.

He argued, however, that some proposals in the bill were “neither fair nor equitable” and posed a “very real” risk to the competitiveness of the Irish retail banking sector.

Hayes said that the proposed provisions would place most of the responsibility for maintaining access to cash on the three retail banks, despite the fact that they controlled only one-third of the general infrastructure.

“All other providers who make up the remaining cash access infrastructure – including An Post, independent ATM deployers, and credit unions – are excluded.

‘Barrier to entry’

“In a scenario where any one of these providers withdraws an ATM or ‘bricks and mortar’ counter service, leading to a breach of the cash access criteria, under the current proposals it will be the responsibility of the retail banks to remedy and replace this service, even in circumstances where this is not commercially viable,” Hayes stated.

He warned that, after the recent exit of two retail banks from the market, the plans risked creating “a significant barrier to entry” for any new bank.

The BPFI also called for a requirement that 99% of people be no more than 10km from a cash-service point to be changed to 15km.

It also urged the definition of ‘access-to-cash points’ to be broadened to include An Post locations, credit unions, and cashback services.

Gazette Desk
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