BPFI (Banking and Payment Federation Ireland) CEO Brian Hayes, speaking on RTÉ’s Saturday View programme today, confirmed that 28,000 mortgage payment breaks had been processed or are in the middle of being processed, just over one week after the initiative had been announced. Speaking in RTÉ this afternoon Mr. Hayes also confirmed that between 8,000 and 10,000 payment breaks for SMEs were also granted or in the process of being granted to those impacted by Covid-19.
The joint bank plan by the five retail banks was announced just over a week ago with daily calls to the call centres reaching highs of 7,000 calls a day earlier in the week. Banks have been reallocating up to 50% of their staff in some cases, updating websites and introducing new online facilities to manage the huge volumes of applications and queries they have been receiving.
Mr. Hayes also confirmed that the new contactless payment increased limit from €30 to €50 is being rolled out with the aim of completing it nationally as of this Wednesday (1 April).
He said: “The demand for contactless payment is growing and we know that the demand for cash is down 20%. At the end of last year consumers made more than 1.5 million contactless payments a day. In the current environment there is an even greater increased in the demand for using contactless payments.”
“Several parties including banks, retailers and technology companies have been working closely together on the rollout. Due to the many technicalities involved there is no central method by which this can be delivered, but rather it is case of all parties working together to ensure consumers can avail of the new limit of €50. We are confident that it will be complete by April 1st.