Failure to adopt e-payments costing €1.4bn a year

18 Apr 2008

The Irish economy is losing up to €1.4bn a year due to huge inefficiencies in rolling out electronic payments services, the Irish Payments Services Organisation (IPSO) has claimed.

Ireland is one of the most inefficient countries in Europe when it comes to electronic payments, IPSO said, with the continued reliance on cheques and cash costing the economy up to €1.4bn annually

The organisation described the cheque as “an obsolete form of payment” which must be eliminated from Irish society to ensure a more efficient payments landscape.

Ireland is one of the last few significant users of cheques in Europe, with our usage double that of the EU average. Cheques account for more than 75pc of all non-cash payments in value terms, IPSO said.

A reluctance to embrace electronic payments is stifling the nation’s productivity, according to the organisation.

“Our payment patterns remain firmly fixed on the lower end of the efficiency scale,” said Pat McLoughlin, chief executive, IPSO. “While there is an abundance of electronic payment options available to Irish customers, Irish domestic payment behaviour patterns continue to be heavily reliant on cash and cheque options which are the most costly and inefficient. This is incurring significant costs to small and large businesses on an annual basis.”

McLoughlin called for a deadline to eliminate cheques from Irish society, declaring they should be obsolete by 2016.

IPSO has also announced figures from new research that shows 73pc of the Irish population owns a Laser card, a 40pc increase on Laser card ownership since 2006.

Some 69pc of peopled polled by IPSO stated they would increase their card usage if the minimum spend requirement was removed by Irish retailers.

By Niall Byrne