Bank customers fear new steps to restrict access to cash services

The government and central bank have a responsibility to ensure people continue to have access to cash, respondents told researchers.

But most people worry banks will keep trying to restrict cash services.

According to a survey commissioned by the Credit Union Development Association (CUDA), a representation of community-owned lenders, only 6 percent of people believe banks will maintain cash services indefinitely.

It comes after AIB was forced into an embarrassing about-face as it attempted to withdraw cash services at 70 branches.

There is some evidence that cash use has recovered since the pandemic, when people were encouraged to stop using banknotes for fear of infection and urged to make contactless payments.

And a new TikTok trend has seen young people use more cash to save money.

When it comes to “cash stuffing”, younger people regularly withdraw more cash.

They calculate their weekly budget and segregate their cash in separate physical folders, each dedicated to a different use.

While online banking apps offer ways to budget for people’s savings, those who swear by the cash stuffing trend say using physical money is changing the way you approach spending.

It’s a tried-and-true budgeting method that’s gained new popularity on social media, where posts about it have been viewed 500 million times.

The CUDA poll, conducted by iReach, found that a majority of people believe the government and central bank are spending the money to ensure cash banking continues in local communities.

However, six out of ten people assume that cash services in banks will eventually be phased out.

Only 6pc believe banks will keep these services indefinitely.

Kevin Johnson, Chief Executive of CUDA, said that many people feel we are on borrowed time face-to-face regarding the adoption of digital banking and the withdrawal of banking services.

He said this is evident from the fact that 60 percent of respondents thought AIB’s decision to maintain cash services was only temporary.

“There are many sides to the argument — some people will argue that digital is the way forward and a cashless society is the next logical step,” he said.

“Others will argue that a digital-only banking system would only serve a specific sector of society, would bypass a large group of people who lacked the skills to adopt it, and would leave the economy highly vulnerable to a large-scale cyberattack -Attack.”

A recent report by McKinsey consultants estimates that cash transactions account for between 5 and 10 percent of total bank operating expenses.

Mr Johnson said statistics from Eurostat showed there were 275,000 people over the age of 65 in Ireland who did not use the internet.

“It’s a hugely important demographic and sector of our society,” he said.

“Most of these people need access to banking services and specifically cash banking services and a walk-in branch.”

Mr Johnson said the prospect of national banking service providers gearing their business development in ways that could potentially disempower more than a quarter of a million people required serious scrutiny at government level.

The survey found that a majority of respondents believe the government and central bank are spending the money to ensure people in their communities have access to cash banking services. Bank customers fear new steps to restrict access to cash services

Fry Electronics Team

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