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1,800 complaints about businesses accepting only cash
Despite the fact that offering electronic payments to customers is now mandatory in Belgium, many are still only accepting cash, according to Belgium's federal economy ministry.
More than 1,800 reports have been registered against businesses that refuse to offer an electronic payment option since the new rules came into force on 1 July 2022.
All businesses must now be able to offer their private customers at least one electronic payment system. Businesses were warned years in advance and given the opportunity to apply for financial aid related to the transition.
While 1,347 reports were received last year, 534 reports have already been recorded for 2023.
Since 2023, checks relating to this obligation are no longer carried out solely on the basis of reports but “are also carried out proactively”.
In 2023, 103 infringements were detected in the course of 2,105 checks, according to the economy ministry.
The obligation to offer an electronic means of payment applies not only to businesses, whatever their size, but also to the self-employed, such as hairdressers and tradespeople and to all people, administrations or associations carrying out economic activities on a long-term basis in relation to consumers.
Cash also remains a legal means of payment and cannot be refused by retailers, except in exceptional and temporary cases - such as a suspicion of forgery.
Since 1 July 2022, the economy ministry has recorded 316 reports of consumers being refused payment in cash, including 179 in 2023 so far.