Cash will remain king.
Irish public bodies are to be notified that they must continue to accept cash when dealing with consumers, according to a new report.
Last month, the motor testing service announced that it was "going cashless over the coming months" and warned drivers that they would have to pay in advance for the service.
In a post on social media, the NCT said: "We're saying goodbye to cash! NCTs are going cashless over the coming months for your safety and convenience, this means that payment must be made in advance of attending for your NCT.
"When introduced, payment can be made online or by postal order."
Following the announcement, there was a major backlash to the move proposed by NCT operator Applus, with organisation Age Action and several TDs highlighting concerns - particularly in regards to older people who do not use online services.
In response, Junior Transport Minister Jack Chambers said a week later that the NCT would not go cashless, with the motor testing service's website currently outlining: "NCTS will accept cash, laser/Debit cards and all major credit cards (excluding American Express)."
Finance Minister Michael McGrath - Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie
Public bodies reportedly to be forced to accept cash after NCT controversy
Now, the Irish Independent reports that Finance Minister Michael McGrath has written to his ministerial colleagues asking them to make sure that all public bodies that they are responsible for continue to accept cash as payment for goods and services.
This is expected to apply to bodies that are not directly under the Government's supervision but have a contract from the State to provide services, according to the paper.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) states that businesses in Ireland currently must accept cash unless it is clear they only accept other ways to pay.
"This can be as simple as a sign in the shop saying ‘card transactions only’. As long as you decide to continue in the presence of such a sign, this is considered agreement," the CCPC also notes.
In the wake of the NCT controversy, Age Action - Ireland's leading advocacy group for older people - explained:
"Older age is the indicator for who is digitally excluded. Almost 300,000 people aged 60 or older were not using the internet at all in 2022.
"A cashless service puts these people at risk of financial abuse and erodes their independence."
Older age is the indicator for who is digitally excluded
Almost 300,000 people aged 60 or older were not using the internet at all in 2022
— Age Action (@AgeAction) August 22, 2023