Cash pension and benefit payments at Isle of Man post offices could end in 2022 amid an “obvious trend” towards money being paid directly into bank accounts, the treasury minister has said.
There are currently 5,000 users of the government’s MiCard payment system.
The cards allow those in receipt of the state pension and benefits to collect the money in cash.
Alfred Cannan said “viable alternatives” would now be explored.
A contract with the post office to deliver the service expires in 2022.
Mr Cannan told the House of Keys 90% of new pensioners had opted to have money paid directly into their accounts, while there had been a 20% fall in the number of MiCard users over the past three years.
If the reduction continued at the same rate, the system was in danger of becoming “irrelevant,” he added.
‘Digitally excluded people’
Bill Shimmins MHK said “trying to fight against consumer preference” on the issue was “futile”.
However, Chris Robertshaw MHK said if changes were not planned “properly” then people without access to bank accounts would become “a group of left-behinds or left-outs”.
Lawrie Hooper MHK argued the removal of the system could disadvantage “digitally excluded people” who could not access services in any other way.
Mr Cannan said the treasury and post office would now review “the most appropriate way to deliver cash to the community”.
Any changes to the service, which costs £500,000 a year, would ensure those who want to access cash services can continue to do so, he added.
A modernisation of the island’s post office network, which could see sub-post offices replaced by self-service kiosks, was approved by politicians earlier this month.