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Bill aims to ‘protect’ role of cash
(Pic: RollingNews.ie)

23 Jan 2024 / legislation Print

Bill to protect role of cash in economy

The Government has published the general scheme of a bill aimed at protecting the role of cash in the Irish financial system.

The Access to Cash Bill stems from a recommendation made by the Retail Banking Review, published in November 2022.

The review highlighted the role of cash in ensuring that people did not experience financial exclusion, and as a safety net in the event of electronic banking or the payments infrastructure being hit by outages or cyber-attacks.

‘Important’ role

The Minister for Finance Minister McGrath said that the move to a more digitalised banking model, along with the costs involved in handling cash, had incentivised the traditional banks to move away from cash.

He added, however, that it was important to protect its role in Irish society and the economy in the future.

The legislation will, for the first time, allow the Central Bank to regulate ATMs, with the aim of improving operational standards and ensuring good customer service.

Payments strategy

It provides the Central Bank with regulation-making powers on issues such as reporting, setting service standards, and other matters such as denomination stocking.

“In the absence of a legislative intervention, it is likely that, over time, we would see more and more ATMs removed from communities across the country, and I do not want to see this happen,” the minister stated.

The bill will also give the Central Bank the responsibility and powers to protect the resilience of the cash system – including the authorisation and supervision of cash-in-transit firms.

The proposed legislation comes as the Department of Finance is in the process of developing a national-payments strategy that will look at the acceptance of cash in the payments system.

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