Cash Equals Choice
European Finance Commissioner Mairead McGuinness has rejected the suggestion that Europe is heading towards a cashless society, making it clear that cash equals choice, and choice matters to EU citizens.
McGuinness, the European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union, recently spoke in Ratheniska, Ireland, at Europe’s largest outdoor show, the National Ploughing Championships. People had raised concerns that the event was excluding potential attendees by requiring tickets to be booked and paid for online, but McGuinness said it was possible to pay with cash and added that payment choice is important in Ireland and throughout Europe.
A lot of people continue to use cash but a lot of us are also using cards, e-commerce and contactless payments. We want people to have choice... Not long ago, we [adopted] a proposal to give people choice and ensure cash remains available in our member states.
Earlier in the year, McGuinness wrote in the Irish Examiner about the European Commission’s adoption of proposals to modernise its payments system, ‘one to ensure that cash continues to be available, the other to allow for the introduction of a digital euro.’
It’s important that these two proposals on euro cash and digital euro go hand in hand, strengthening access to and the option to use cash, and providing for the digital complement to cash.
This position reinforces the importance of choice in the payments landscape, from cash to current cashless options right through to central bank digital currencies under development.
In order to ensure everyone—from the very youngest to the very oldest—can make and receive payments in a way that suits them, governments must support access to and acceptance of cash alongside the development of new payment methods.