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Can Ireland really do without cash?

Can Ireland’s central bank force a cashless payment system on Ireland’s citizens? The word “force” is appropriate since statistics indicate cash withdrawals from Automated Teller Machines is 66 percent higher in Ireland than is the average for the European Union as a whole.

The Central Bank of Ireland will install 15 cashless kiosks in its new headquarters, pictured here. (Image courtesy of the Central Bank of Ireland)

The Central Bank of Ireland will install 15 cashless kiosks in its new headquarters, pictured here. (Image courtesy of the Central Bank of Ireland)

This statistic doesn’t appear to bother the central bank, which is attempting to encourage its own staff to stop using coins and bank notes. The bank actually began its campaign against the use of cash in 2014. (The campaign includes discouraging the use of checks.) According to bank officials, the increased use of electronic payment “could” save the Irish economy as much as 1 billion euro a year.

The central bank currently operates cashless payment systems at four of its sites. The bank is selling its Spencer Dock building in Dublin, which had been purchased in September 2015 for 104 million euro. The new headquarters on North Wall Quay in Dublin’s docklands will house about 1,400 employees including staff now residing at three of the offices already using cashless payment systems. These moves are anticipated to be completed by the end of 2016.

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The bank also expects to install a cashless system at its currency center on Sandyford Road, where another 195 employees work.

The new cashless system envisaged by the bank needs to be capable of handling as many as 50 users at one time, and to handle more than 2,000 active users. The bank’s current target is to have 15 cashless kiosks or payment terminals at the North Wall Quay site with five additional terminals at the Sandyford offices. The bank hopes customers will have online access to their accounts to view their balances and recent transactions.

Currently Ireland uses European Union coins and bank notes, the coins depicting the EU standard logo on one side, with designs as chosen by the central bank on what is generally referred to as the “national” side. It depicts heraldry accompanied by a traditional Irish script legend Eire, while the EU logo appears on the other side.

Northern Ireland continues to use British currency while Ireland may be headed for plastic and cyberspace.

This article was originally printed in World Coin News.
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