Dutch central bank says too many retailers refuse cash payments
Too many retailers in the Netherlands have stopped accepting cash payments, warned the De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), the country’s central bank. Refusing cash makes it more difficult for some people to make purchases, and the usability of coins and banknotes generally decreases as more and more retailers want to customers to use debit cards instead, the central bank said.
On average, 4 percent of retailers clearly state that they only accept debit card payments, but in some specific sectors, the share is much higher. About one in five cinemas refuse cash, and more than ten percent of pharmacists stopped taking cash payments, the DNB said based on research by Locatus. It is also relatively difficult to pay with cash at parking garages and lots.
At a third of the shops where customers can only pay by card, the retailer only makes it clear once customers are at the checkout. The DNB was emphatic in saying that it must be clear in advance that shops do not accept cash, for example, with signs saying only specific cards may be used for transactions.
Retailers’ organizations joined hospitality businesses, petrol stations, other business sectors, the DNB, and Banks in agreeing to make efforts to keep cash payments possible. The so-called Cash Covenant was necessary because cash payments have become increasingly challenging. This is also because it is becoming more expensive for retailers to process cash payments, and the number of ATMs is declining.
At the time, the DNB warned of the negative consequences if cash were to disappear. In the event of a major malfunction in debit cards and other transaction systems, the lack of a cash option means there may not be a reliable alternative.
The new research also shows that euro coins and banknotes are still common in some places. For example, Locatus researchers were able to pay cash at all 930 market stalls they visited.
In general, the share of debit card-only retailers increases as cities get larger. In places with more than 175,000 inhabitants, about 6 percent of retailers only want debit card payments. In villages with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants, the average falls to about 2 percent.
Customers in Utrecht and Flevoland have the greatest chance of ending up in a shop with pay-by-card options. The rate is the lowest in Limburg and Drenthe.
Reporting by ANP