Businesses that don’t accept cash – What are your rights?

September 23, 2022

During the pandemic, some businesses were understandably reluctant to handle cash. While most shops now accept cash again, some continue to only accept card payments. You may have been wondering what your rights are in relation to this.

Does a business have to accept cash?

In Ireland, businesses 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.

If a business doesn’t clearly state that it only accepts certain methods of payment, it must accept cash (legal tender). A business does not have to accept cash if there are safety concerns. For example, they can’t store the money safely. This also applies if a business runs out of change.

Eurosystem cash strategy

Some consumers have raised concerns about the possibility of a push for a cashless society. The Central Bank of Ireland is a part strategy to ensure cash continues to be accepted in the European Union. Read more about the Eurosystem Cash Strategy.

Basic bank accounts

For those who prefer cash, they might find shops that only accept card payments inconvenient. However, it mostly affects those who do not have a bank account. It is estimated that at least 2% of the total population are “unbanked”. If you don’t have a bank account, you may qualify for a free Basic Bank Account. Find more information on Basic Bank Accounts.


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