Minister of State at the Department of Transport Jack Chambers has said that no change has been agreed that would make the NCT cashless.
The operator of the NCT, Applus+ last week announced that test centres were going cashless for the “safety and convenience” of customers, however, organisations representing the elderly had criticised the decision pointing out that many older people were not computer-literate, and they were reliant on cash.
Mr Chambers told RTÉ radio’s News at One that any change by Applus+ would have to facilitate those for whom a card payment was not an option.
No process or arrangement had been agreed with Applus+ for any changes to the payment system, he said.
“To be very clear people without access to online or electronic payment structures will continue to have alternative payment options. At the moment, three percent pay with cash for the NCT. And it's important that we don't exclude anybody from a payment system that's being developed.
“So the first thing to say is no change has been agreed. And then the second thing to say is if there is any alternative payment system developed it will have to facilitate people that cannot or will not use electronic or digital payments. And there will have to be protocols in a system around that.”
The contract for Applus+ says that they have to provide an alternative payment system to customers who are unable or do not wish to use debit or credit cards, said Mr Chambers.
A possibility for the future would be a voucher system which would enable customers to exchange cash for a payment voucher which could then be used to pay for the NCT similar to current systems to pay for utility bills or mobile phone bills, he explained.