Wednesday, March 4, 2009

what's going on In Ireland, cash or just a cheques

What it shows is that Ireland is still extremely reliant on paper payments, particularly cash and cheques.

Ireland has historically had a policy of such usage, and the government has actively discouraged electronic payment until recently by taxing citizens for using debit and credit cards. This is illustrated by Slide 5, which shows that the volumes of paper payments processed have remained remarkably constant during the last four years.

Equally, I was amazed at Slide 9 that shows the use of cash per capita has been surging between 2006 and 2007. Is this the result of the credit crisis I wonder, or the fact that every newsagent, post office, public house and field in Ireland has recently seen off-premise ATMs deployed? If you don’t know btw, Ireland has more ATMs than any other country in Europe per capita, as illustrated by Slide 11.

Therefore, although card values are rising, cash is still dominant (Slide 12).

Cheques are also rampant and Slide 13, 14 and 18 put this in context. They are also fascinating slides in their own right.

For example, slides 13 and 14 show that whilst Ireland’s use of cheques is not as bad as France, the value of cheque is massive. This implies that cash is traded for general sundries and small trading, whilst cheques are for the big stuff.

Slide 18 particularly speaks volumes, as countries such as Britain and France have actively been targeting the reduction in the usage of cheques.

In the UK for example, we have many firms that decline cheques completely or will only accept them with a high processing fee or value.

France has seen cheques reduce from over half of all payments in 1990 to under a quarter today, and it’s reducing further.

Ireland’s cheque usage remains constant – another sign of a government that has encouraged paper payments by discouraging electron ones, and a culture where paper is more trusted than bytes.

The other charts and stats are also worth reviewing.



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