By Jake Brownell
Is it time for a change in the way we buy? Fiona Reddan of The Irish Times looks at how the world is moving forward and leaving cash payments behind. She examines how European countries such as Sweden are going digital – Stockholm’s metro system has not taken cash for years, for example, while retailers can legally refuse coins and notes.
According to the central bank of Sweden, the Riksbank, cash transactions made up barely 2% of all payments made in Sweden last year, a figure that is predicted to drop down to 0.5% by 2020. The Swedish banks are really pushing for a cashless Sweden – six Swedish banks created an app called Swish that started taking mobile payments in 2015, with Swish transactions overtaking ATM withdrawals in some banks.
As for Ireland, while contactless payments are on the rise, Reddan notes that a transition to a truly cashless society depends on whether it is economical to do so, and recounts how one man attempted to live without cash for the month of January.
The Irish Independent’s Sean Duffy digs into European minimum wages this week, and discusses the pros and cons of Ireland’s higher wages. Ireland’s minimum monthly wage comes to around €1,563 per month (€9.25 per hour), second only behind Luxembourg, whose minimum wage stands at €1,999 per month and followed by Holland (third-highest at €1,552), and Belgium (€1,532).
Even though the Irish economy is the fastest growing in the EU, industry bosses are raising fears concerning the increase in costs for businesses. Though trade union SIPTU has called for an increase to a ‘living wage’ of €11-11.50 per hour, Thomas Burke, Director of Retail Ireland, is quoted as saying that “the Irish minimum wage has risen by 7% over the past two years and it is our opinion that it should not be increased further.”
Is the loss worth the risk?
Did you known that Ireland has the third highest gambling losses in the world? That’s according to research conducted by H2 Gambling Capital, which found that we lose approximately €470 per adult on varying types of gambling each year.
Just under half of Irish gambling losses in Ireland comes from online gambling, followed in second place by traditional forms of betting. In total, Irish punters lost a not insignificant €2.1bn in 2016.
Casinos are less popular in Ireland compared to countries like the United States, the research found, which was ranked fifth overall with total losses of at least €110bn. Australia took the top spot of highest gambling losses with on average each adult losing €930.