Consumers choose card over cash

Tue, Aug 16, 2011, 01:00

The amount of cash withdrawn from ATMs last year fell by €3 billion, the Irish Payment Services Organisation said.

A total of €22.3 billion was still taken from ATMs last year, according to a survey by the organisation, highlighting that Ireland is still one of the biggest users of cash in the European Union.

The figures suggest that consumers are changing their habits and switching to debit cards from cash as well as making more low-cost, convenient electronic payments through online banking services.

Irish Payment Services Organisation chief executive Pat McLoughlin said the development marked a new era in consumer habits.

“The fact that there is a clear trend towards greater usage of debit cards is a sign that Ireland is embracing a new era in consumer transactions, and it will come as a boost to retailers and businesses across the country as the speed and efficiency of payments improves,” he said.

“It is essential that Irish consumers continue to take the lead from their European counterparts in switching to more efficient payment methods as this will positively impact on Ireland’s economic competitiveness.”

Despite the changing trends, consumers in Ireland are more likely to use ATMs than in any other EU country. Bank and building society customers made an average of 40 withdrawals last year, totalling almost €5,000 per person.

The total spend on electronic payments using cards in Ireland last year was €22.8 billion - for the first time exceeding the value of ATM withdrawals.

In Ireland, the value of non-cash transactions is 36 per cent of the total compared to the EU average of 96 per cent.

The survey also noted that more than 2.8 million customers are registered for online banking in Ireland.

PA