Spending on Visa cards hits a high
Irish consumers spent a record €15.5 billion on their Visa cards last year as banks continued to introduce Visa Debit cards and consumers used cards 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 per cent across Europe.
The move by banks from Laser cards to Visa Debit during the year probably accounts for a significant proportion of the increase.
This move is also likely to be behind the 43 per cent increase in the number of Visa cards in circulation, which rose to 4.9 million.
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.
However, the company says Irish consumers still like to have cash. It says that Irish consumers take out more cash from ATMs in a month than Danish consumers do in a year.
In Europe, consumers spent €1.3 trillion with their Visa cards in the year to September 30th, an annual increase of 8 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 €1 billion – hitting €1.11 billion in the 12 months to last September 30th.
The company achieved a pre-tax surplus of €260 million that it says 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 such as Marks Spencer, Arnotts and Centra allow customers to pay for transactions of €15 or less by simply touching their Visa card to a terminal.
There is no need to enter a PIN (personal identification number).
This year will also see the roll-out of V.meby Visa, Visa’s first integrated digital wallet, in the UK, France and Spain.
According to the company, Ireland will be the next market to get V.me, which allows consumers to complete online transactions with just one click after logging in through an internet browser.
“The past six years have been about preparing and building the European payments infrastructure to support European commerce and the delivery of new payment technologies,” said Peter Ayliffe, the chief executive of Visa Europe.