Ireland needs to aim higher in the e-payments stakes

8 Nov 2010

The development of e-payments represents a strong area for Ireland to add to our smart economy.

Many of the leading online retailers such as Amazon, eBay and PayPal are operating in Ireland and have reaped the benefits of relying on debit and credit payments through the internet.

According to a report by National Irish Bank (NIB), the Government could save more than €1bn if it moves into electronic payment systems. With such an opportunity available, it’s easy to see why many Irish businesses are looking to break into this payment method.

“At the moment, the way Irish firms are working is they’re looking into payment methods and are looking into opening up their business to a larger environment, as well,” said Michelle Murphy, Sage Pay sales executive.

Diversifying into e-payments is vital to not only improve efficiency, but also to help manage revenue intake. Ireland is the most intensive cash user and the second most extensive user of cheques in Europe.

This can prove detrimental to businesses, which are often left waiting on cheques to arrive in on time, affecting their accounts. By switching to electronic payments, this can be avoided, not only helping with processing finances, but also cutting costs.

“The big thing (with e-payments) is that companies are reducing their costs and can put their resources of people into difference areas, rather than chasing debts and following up phone calls trying to get payments,” said Murphy.

“From research I’ve been doing over the last couple of months, the main reason why a lot of our customers want to take payments by debit and credit cards are because cheques aren’t arriving in,” she added.

Not only can businesses streamline payments, they can also expand their market throughout Europe and beyond through e-commerce. 

“If businesses go online, as well, and accept payments through websites and e-commerce, it’ll open them up to a larger market, bringing in revenue where they wouldn’t have gotten it before,” said Murphy.

“We’ve one leading hotel, for example, which just went online a couple of months ago.

“They’ve brought in several thousand euro in revenue, which they wouldn’t have gotten before going online,” she said.

While Ireland is currently behind in e-payments, there is still a great opportunity for them to move into this. The NIB report has recommended that Ireland should reduce its cheque usage by 95pc and reduce cash usage to below the European average by 2013.

This push could be what the country needs in order to move into this payment method, putting us on an equal e-payment level with the rest of Europe and boosting our economy.