C: Lawyers for Justice Ireland (L) and La Crêperie Pierre Grise (FB) (L)

‘Cash preferred’: Wicklow crêpe restaurant offers customers discount when paying in cash

A popular crêpe restaurant in Co. Wicklow has won praise after its owners offered a discount to customers paying in cash as part of its support for the nationwide movement to reignite cash. 

It comes as some businesses adopt ‘card only’ payment policies, with business owners nationwide believing that their businesses could go entirely cashless within ten years.

Owners of La Crêperie Pierre Grise in Greystones, Alison and Julien Lefebvre, put up a sign on their till, and also outside on the menu board supporting ‘cash freedom’, which also promised a small discount for those opting to pay in cash. The initiative was highlighted by Lawyers for Justice Ireland, who applauded the owners, sharing a photo of the signs:

The traditional French crêperie restaurant, which offers both savoury and sweet treats, explained its reasoning for the preference for cash payments on the sign at the till.

“Cash preferred, card accepted,” the sign read. “We offer a small discount when you use cash,” it also said, offering two reasons why. Firstly, the sign gave the reasoning: “You pay a transaction fee to the bank for every tap. We’d rather you keep it” and secondly, “To support cash freedom!”

Social media users were keen to offer their support to the family-run restaurant in the comments. “I was there today! Highly recommend it,” one customer said, while another person described the initiative as “brilliant”. Others said the policy was “good to see”.

The restaurant, which was opened in Greystones in 2016, promises to offer an “enjoyable, rewarding French experience” at the Harbour in Greystones, and offers galettes, crepes for dessert, and Normandy cidre. 

It comes as Center Parcs UK and Ireland formally adopted a cashless policy in the wake of Covid. The European network of holiday villages went cashless last summer, and states on its website: “All our villages are cashless and can no longer accept cash payments”. The decision to refuse cash payments has been received with pushback from some consumers. 

In a twitter exchange with the business last year, one user protested: “This doesn’t consider older guests or children. My dad is 74 and only uses cash. We are due to come in 10 days. What is the reasoning behind this as I don’t think cash has been deemed as a huge Covid risk?” 

The move by the business comes amid opposition to the possibility of going cashless within a decade. Irish businesses are divided over the idea of going entirely cashless in the next ten years, with research published in July 2022 showing that more than half of Dublin firms believe it is a real possibility. 

CASHLESS WITHIN 10 YEARS?

A survey by BOI Payment Acceptance (BOIPA) reported that the general increase in cashless payments as opposed to cash transactions is perceived positively by almost two thirds of businesses nationally. 

However, the push to go cashless has left Irish businesses split over whether they anticipate becoming fully cashless in the next decade, with 47 per cent believing this is not a real possibility.

Dublin and Galway were among counties who were most confident about this transition, with 55 per cent and 51 per cent of businesses in those counties anticipating the change. 50 per cent of businesses in Wicklow believed going cashless could be a reality in ten years, while 49 per cent of businesses in Laois and Limerick anticipated a cashless future, and 48 per cent of firms in Kildare, Tipperary, Waterford and Carlow.

Meanwhile, Donegal businesses showed the least optimism about the possibility – with only 36 per cent believing businesses could actually go fully cashless in the next decade. In a similar vein, just over 40 per cent of businesses in Kerry, Cavan and Louth also felt that they could go cashless within the next decade. 

Recent data has shown that payment habits during the Covid-19 pandemic have become more permanent, with Ireland a “leading adopter of cash alternatives” compared to other nations, according to the same survey.

The survey found that cashless payments are the preferred method of payment for shopping offline across all countries surveyed at 55 per cent. However, the preference for cashless payments in Ireland is higher at 63 per cent, according to BOIPA, which found that Irish consumers are more inclined to use card, digital wallet or online payments across a range of purchases, including the grocery shop, eating out, paying for fuel, at public institutions and for entertainment and leisure.

A mere 3 per cent of people who took part in the survey said they never used cash or digital payments in any situation, which is half the average across the other countries surveyed (6 per cent).

The popularity of digital wallets as well as wearable devices to make payments continues to increase with Irish consumers, according to the survey. 65 per cent of people surveyed now use mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay, with 38 per cent of those using this method of payment several times daily. While some 67 per cent used virtual wallets for online spending, 24 per cent of whom used this option several times a day.

Ireland is continuing to move towards a cashless society post-Covid, according to commentators, who have cited figures from a recent report by a banking representative group, the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI).

During Q2 of 2022, digital payments outnumbered direct debit transactions for the first time ever in Ireland. 36 million digital transactions were carried out, a 12% increase from the same period in 2021.

The BPFI’s Payments Monitor for Q2 also showed contactless payments increasing, with €49m worth of them carried out per day in that period, the highest daily spend in any quarter since the data series first started in 2016.

“It has become clear that contactless is increasing its penetration of card payments. Some 57% of card payment volumes were contactless in Q2, the highest proportion on record and up from 51% a year earlier,” Gillian Byrne, head of payments at the BPFI, said when findings were published earlier this month.

TD CAUTIONS AGAINST ‘SLEEP WALKING’ INTO CASHLESS SOCIETY 

However, many people have expressed huge concern over the idea of a cashless society, with Independent Co. Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath among those to caution against the possibility. He recently appealed to Irish people to keep cash alive, writing:

“It is up to us as a people to keep cash alive by taking conscious steps to use cash on a daily basis. It is our actions that will make all the difference.

“If we sleep walk into a cashless society we will leave people behind and we are at the mercy of the Banks who will have ultimate control. There are many people in our Irish society that do not swipe, tap or use digital payments including the elderly, disabled and those with less economic security. Banks can also charge whatever fees they wish for cashless transactions if we no longer have access to cash.

He continued: “I am extremely concerned that more and more businesses and organisations are going cashless in Ireland and I will do all in my power to challenge this, to lobby for enhanced legislation to protect cash as legal tender and to stop banks closing cash services. If we do not use ATMs on a regular basis we are playing into the hands of the banks who will use this as a justification for closing down cash services.

“I would urge people to make conscious steps to use cash. It is also vital that the younger generation become more aware of their dependency on swiping, tapping and using mobile apps and that we all support kids to start using cash again as it is so vital for their future. Each and every one of us has a part to play in keeping cash alive”.

 

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