Purpose – E-Government programs often address problems such as institutional ineffectiveness, lack of transparency, or social exclusion. Financial exclusion and people's reliance on ineffective payment methods appear to be a well-known problem world-wide. Yet, despite the large number of related case studies and academic reports on the topic, little is understood about the impact governmental payment practices have on the financial behaviour of citizens. Few investigations address how governmental use of payment methods and related policies may impact citizen/consumer behaviour. Through investigating the move to E-Payment based methods to replace the dominant use of cash and cheques in social welfare in Ireland, the purpose of this paper is to explore the recipient's view of this government project.
Design/methodology/approach – The research is organized as an intrinsic case study where the unit of analysis is one large project. It aims at a rich description of one particular case by analysing data collected from two main sources of evidence: preliminary investigation is done by reviewing relevant documents, while primary data collection involved face-to-face surveys of social welfare recipients (using a short, structured questionnaire augmented with a few open-ended questions).
Findings – The planning and execution of E-Government programs often face barriers of mostly social and historical nature. As the results of this research indicate, these barriers might be hard to overcome as they are the result of certain behaviours and attitudes rooted in people's daily experience, such as their daily financial reality. Results also imply that the choice of an adequate E-Payment method and migration scenario by governmental agencies will be crucial to the outcome. Implementation and education will also be critical.
Originality/value – This study reports on the influence governmental decisions related to social welfare payment methods may have on recipients' financial habits regarding the choice of payment options. It also shows how recipients' everyday experience and financial reality determine the way they relate to payment options.