DNB: cash too little accepted

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In more and more shops you can only use a debit card
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De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) warns that cash is no longer accepted in too many shops. Especially in cinemas, pharmacies and at parking machines, it is often only possible to use a debit card, according to a study carried out by research agency Locatus on behalf of DNB.

The declining acceptance of cash makes it more difficult for some people to make purchases and also reduces the usability of coins and bills.

This is a worrying development, says DNB expert Esther van den Kommer on NPO Radio 1: ‘Cash is an important means of payment for smooth payment transactions and you ensure that everyone can continue to participate. Vulnerable customer groups must also be able to continue to pay.’

In most places, you can still pay with both cash and debit card: on average, 4% of retailers indicate that they only accept debit card payments. But in certain industries, that percentage is much higher. For example, one in five cinemas indicates that they do not accept cash and one in eight pharmacies can only be paid with a debit card.

The largest number of pin-only retailers is in the major cities. In places with more than 175,000 inhabitants, 6 percent of shopkeepers only want debit card payments, in places with less than 10,000 inhabitants, this is only 2 percent.

DNB also calls on retailers to indicate more clearly that customers can only use debit cards. At the moment, it only becomes clear at the checkout at a third of the pin-only shops that cash is not accepted.

Van den Kommer advises making it clear at the entrance how customers can pay, for example by using a pin-only sign: “Our call is: make it clear to everyone at the beginning of the store, but above all keep it accept. That makes it easy for everyone.”

Increasingly expensive

It is not the first time that the bank is concerned about the declining use of cash. In 2021, DNB sent a letter to the then Minister of Finance Wopke Hoekstra, pointing out that measures had to be taken to maintain payment with cash as much as possible.

This was necessary because it is becoming increasingly expensive for retailers to process cash payments and the number of ATMs in the Netherlands is declining. In April 2022, DNB therefore signed the Cash Covenant with other banks, retailers’ organisations, catering companies and petrol stations.

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