Record credit spend for Irish
Irish consumers spent a record €15.5 billion on their Visa cards in 2012, as banks continued their roll-out of Visa Debit cards and consumers used their flexible friends for lower-value everyday purchases.
In the year to September 30th, Irish consumers increased the amount they spent on Visa cards by 17 per cent on 2011. This compares with an increase of 8.0 per cent across Europe, but the move by banks from Laser cards to Visa Debit during the year likely accounts for a significant proportion of the increase.
This move is also likely behind the 43 per cent increase in the number of Visa cards in circulation, which rose to 4.9 million, while there was also a 26 per cent increase in the number of transactions during the course of 2012, up to 201 million. According to the card provider, €1 in every €7 of consumer spending in Ireland is now put on a Visa card.
In Europe, consumers spent €1.3 trillion with their Visa cards in the year to September 30th, an annual increase of 8.0 per cent. The rate of growth was a more significant 16 per cent in e-commerce, the fastest growing part of the Visa Europe business, as online spending topped €200 billion for the first time.
According to Visa Europe, for the second year running revenues exceeded €1billion (€1.11bn) and the company achieved a pre-tax surplus of €260 million that will be reinvested into the business and to improve capital and reserves.
Looking ahead, the amount spent by Irish consumers with their Visa cards is likely to increase, as retailers move to contactless payments. Already, retailers like Marks & Spencer, Arnotts and Centra allow customers to pay for transactions of €15 or less by simply touching their Visa card to the contactless terminal without the need to enter their PIN (personal identification number).
This year will also see the roll-out of V.me by Visa, Visa’s first integrated digital wallet, in the UK, France and Spain. According to the company, Ireland is the next focus market for V.me, which allows consumers to complete online transactions with just one click after login through an internet browser.