Bank customers fear new measures to restrict access to cash services
The government and the Central Bank have a responsibility to ensure that people continue to have access to cash, respondents told the researchers.
But most people fear that banks will continue to try to cut cash services.
According to a survey commissioned by the Credit Union Development Association (CUDA), a representative body for community-owned lenders, only 6% of people think banks will retain cash services indefinitely.
It comes after AIB was forced into an embarrassing U-turn when it tried to withdraw cash services at 70 branches.
There is evidence that cash use has recovered since the pandemic, when people were encouraged to stop using banknotes for fear of infection and told to make contactless payments.
And a new TikTok trend has seen young people using more money to save money.
Cashstuffing sees young people withdrawing more money on a regular basis.
They set their weekly budget and separate their money into separate physical folders, each earmarked for a different use.
While online banking apps offer ways to budget people’s savings, those who swear by the cashstuffing trend say that using physical cash is changing your approach to spending.
This is a proven budgeting method that has gained popularity through social media, where posts about it have been viewed 500 million times.
The CUDA survey, which was undertaken by iReach, found that a majority of people believe that the government and the Central Bank are responsible for the continuation of cash banking in local communities.
However, six in 10 people predict that cash services in banks will eventually be phased out.
Only 6% think banks will retain these services indefinitely.
CUDA Chief Executive Kevin Johnson said many people feel we are on borrowed time in terms of rolling out digital banking and withdrawing face-to-face banking.
He said this was evident from the fact that 60% of respondents believe AIB’s decision to retain cash services is only temporary.
“There are many sides to the argument – some people will say digital is the way to go and a cashless society is the logical next step,” he said.
“Others will argue that a digital-only banking system would only serve a certain sector of society, ignore large numbers of people who lack the skills to adopt it, and leave the economy overexposed. to a cyber-attack.”
A recent report by McKinsey consultants estimated that cash transactions represent between 5% and 10% of the bank’s total operating costs.
Mr Johnson said Eurostat statistics revealed there were 275,000 people in Ireland over the age of 65 who did not use the internet.
“It’s an extremely important demographic and sector of our society,” he said.
“Most of these people need access to banking services and, specifically, cash banking and walk-in branch.”
Mr Johnson said the prospect of domestic banking service providers directing their business development in a way that potentially disempowers more than a quarter of a million people requires serious consideration at government level.
The survey revealed that a majority of respondents believe that it is up to the government and the Central Bank to ensure that people have access to cash banking services in their communities.