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Can a business refuse hard cash? 💶💰

  • 28-09-2021 10:48am
    Registered Users Posts: 321 ✭✭

    This morning i popped into a trendy coffee shop - ordered a take-away coffee and presented a €5 note ... only to be told they dont take cash as they hadn't a cash till. Card payments only.

    So, I'm curious - can a business refuse a cash payment in this manner?



  • Registered Users Posts: 16,250 ✭✭✭✭banie01


    Legal tender has caveats and prime amongst them is that it is accepted in settlement of debt and even at that their are limits in what must be accepted.(particularly coins). You have no debt with this business and you are proposing an offer for their goods. Their goods, their terms.

    The business can stipulate any payment mode it desires and refuse same too for any goods and services it offers.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,209 ✭✭✭FintanMcluskey

    I've been told once the business tells you it doesn't accept cash before the transaction takes place its legal

    Lots of hipster type cafe's only take card now

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,080 ✭✭✭✭mickdw

    I can see benefits in terms of cash handling and all that but I don't see that policy being a success.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,550 ✭✭✭✭Creamy Goodness

    It's their business, they make the policies. @banie01's answer covers it quite succinctly

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,453 ✭✭✭vandriver

    No offence(!) but I'm guessing you're not in the full flush of youth?

    My teenagers don't do cash at all.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 321 ✭✭Fishdoodle

    It seems we are drifting into a cashless society. As an aside, the reason I wanted to pay in cash was so that I would have some change I could give to a genuine-looking homeless guy down the street. - The knock on effect of not carrying change has broader implications.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,411 ✭✭✭Allinall

    You could have bought him a coffee or a sandwich and paid by card?

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,426 ✭✭✭maestroamado

    I was surprised when i heard this first and thought it likely illegal.

    I am thinking it suits banks and Government as all transactions recorded....

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,386 ✭✭✭LollipopJimmy

    Only give cash to those begging if you're happy enough knowing it will be spent on drink/drugs.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,577 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    Unless in payment of a debt (which a restaurant/cafe order is not), anyone can refuse to accept cash.

    These days, its no-card places that are more likely to be of interest to authorities, specifically Revenue!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 16,250 ✭✭✭✭banie01

    The info that revenue in particular glean from card terminals and reconciliation to individual cards is utterly amazing. Not just on the individual businesses but on individual spending patterns and using that to highlight disparity in income v spending.

    Some of the analysis work and tools available to our Revenue service are very cutting edge and honestly would but one in mind that we are approaching a point when Tax Evasion with onshore personal funds is becoming nigh on impossible without detection.

    The gap between detection and overt enforcement is huge, but the number of settlements in personal tax is an indicator of how effective they are becoming.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,948 ✭✭✭dulpit

    Isn't it a case if you are at a restaurant and have your meal without them saying anything, then legal tender applies?

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,426 ✭✭✭maestroamado

    I do not think revenue can access any info from bank unless there is an investigation into someone for wrongdoing or an audit...

    Where i am coming from is all goods supplied + vat is recorded... Therefore no incentive for business to deal in cash as i expect revenue have a formula to calculate turnover based on goods bought in....

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,615 ✭✭✭El Tarangu

    If we moved to a cashless society, and people were no longer able to work cash-in-hand or evade charging VAT, the amount of extra revenue would enable the government to quadruple spending on addiction services, and still have plenty left over for other projects.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,046 ✭✭✭silver2020


    Legal tender goes back to the days when people had accounts with the grocer / draper / bar etc. They had your details, you agreed to the terms of the account and a credit account was set up.

    If you went to pay that account at the end of the month and they refused cash, you could argue that the debt was extinguished.

    Eating a meal for payment immediately after does not create an account where this applies. It is still regarded as a transaction where the assumed terms are that you will pay at the end of the meal.

    So in terms of a normal everyday retail or restaurant transaction, the supplier can state their own conditions for payment. The market dictates reasonability.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,512 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    He's probably got a SumUp terminal that you can use.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,250 ✭✭✭✭banie01

    You are incorrect. Revenue have access to the reconciliations of all card machines and financial transactions via card.

    Revenue can also access individual held by Financial Institutions without warrant via Powers granted under TCA 1997, with additional powers for criminal investigation.

    Revenue aim to use info to ensure compliance esp during audit rather than prosecute.

    The level of high level info and how it's held is best compared to mobile phone and cell site meta data. It's all there held without any assigned personal ID, until such time as a Revenue Commissioner decides to take an interest. At that point huge volumes of data and financial info are available without warrant or criminal investigation.

    Revenue's ability to reconcile the terminal data to individual spending, isn't a guess or a musing on my part it's from experience in a professional capacity.

    The sheer volume of data processed and data available to revenue investigations unit via these methods is incredible, and they are constantly working on improving the analytical and heuristic model they use.

    It's very impressive tbh.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,062 ✭✭✭✭ted1

    a good knock-on effect, don't encourage street beggars. give through recognised charities... you could have got him coffee.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,597 ✭✭✭tdf7187

    Of course they can. Just as a business without the facility can refuse to accept cards and only accept cash.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,597 ✭✭✭tdf7187

    Yes and under the money laundering legislation Revenue also have access to Suspicious Transaction Reports, since 2003.

    I think the general public would be a bit freaked out if they knew how much Revenue have visibility of, and similar to yourself I'm speaking from professional experience and not rumour or pub gossip.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 16,250 ✭✭✭✭banie01

    100% most people assume large cash transactions or suspicious must be reported. The net is actually huge and more and more driven by profiling.

    Just in addition to my post on TCA 1997, further powers were granted by the below SI in conjunction with TCA 1997 and the Finance act 2012.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,394 ✭✭✭Markcheese

    I can't remember where I read it , but a small amount of "black economy " transactions is often good for an economy, kind of keeps things moving in a small way -

    wether that still applies in increasingly cashless society I don't know -

    I suppose from a crime point of view it's much harder too -nonpoint in selling drugs with a sum up machine - and much harder to hide disguise/ launder large amounts of cash if everyone is using cards ..

    Slava ukraini 🇺🇦

  • Registered Users Posts: 321 ✭✭Fishdoodle

    😅 …. and yes, I could’ve bought a coffee, sandwich etc …but I hadn’t time to research his dietary preferences.

    The digitalised background data , around use of money has plenty of benefits for sure, though a little creepy how much info can be gleaned -shopping habits, times, location. Pros and cons.

    If data infrastructure crashed (via hacking/power outage etc) …handy to have cash … or then barter 🙂

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,426 ✭✭✭maestroamado

    I was not aware of any of that... I thought a person need be a criminal or dodging taxes before revenue got involved in personal stuff...

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,748 ✭✭✭Padre_Pio

    On the subject, websites like Amazon have amazing algorithms to match your spending habits to certain products.

    Say you splurge in March each year, Amazon may assume you get a bonus in that month and push ads for more expensive items. It gets even more invasive when you factor in data from Echo or other Amazon products, who track when your get up, come home from work etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,509 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    I know two business who do not accept cash, only debit/credit card or account and one of those I’ve worked for myself the other I’m a regular client of now...

    so yes it’s legal. The one I’m a client of now is a fitness business so no ‘walk’ up trade you need to be an accepted member....everybody knows the deal and books sessions online, pays for membership online. They won’t under any circumstances accept cash..

    the other business was a logistics business remotely located in an industrial facility and single transactions went from around 50 euros to multiple thousands.... hours of operation were about 19 hours out of 24 even if the front desk was just 8-8 there otherwise were people around so even with safes etc... counting, moving and securing that amount of cash....wouldn’t be without risk.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,250 ✭✭✭✭banie01

    Nope, it's a common misconception tbh. As @tdf7187 has said many would be surprised if they knew the actual granular detail Revenue have at hand without any criminal concerns or warrant.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,597 ✭✭✭tdf7187

    Define criminal, or for that matter dodging taxes. A huge % of the Irish public were evading taxes in the 1980s (DIRT, offshore accounts etc). The reason they did so was that it was at that time the only way to make a decent living in Ireland, outside of the state sector. Of course, some took it too far, including the then Taoiseach. Corruption starts from the top down, not the bottom up.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,080 ✭✭✭✭mickdw

    I'm well aware of how people are paying these days. Many are using tap but not everyone is or indeed wants to.

    My comment was not from the point of view of someone who doesn't realise that people like to tap, it was more from a business perspective.

    As I said, I see benefits in terms of cash handling and security but from what I've seen of walk in retail, you will lose some custom with this policy plus (and I'm being realistic here) many cash handling businesses will be under declaring income. This card only business will be returning the most correct tax return in the history of the restaurant business. That's great but as a business, it's difficult if not on a level playing field with the shop next door.

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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 22,259 CMod ✭✭✭✭Pawwed Rig

    I am far from the flush of youth aswell but cannot remember the last time I paid for something in a shop or restaurant with cash. The only time I use cash at all is to pay our cleaner and I am trying to get her to get going on revolut