Cash still most popular form of payment for three in five Irish people

The highest proportion of cash users are among those aged over 55, followed by those aged between 18 and 24

“Cash is still king” in Ireland, according to a new survey which has found that 61 per cent of Irish people use cash as their most frequently used payment method.

The survey by management and technology consultancy BearingPoint shows that cash is the most commonly used form of payment method in Ireland, with the highest proportion of cash users among those aged over 55 (68 per cent), followed closely by those aged between 18 and 24 (64 per cent).

The online survey of 8,114 people across Germany, Finland, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland analyses consumer payments behaviour in September of this year, and includes responses from 1,002 Irish consumers.

Cash was closely followed in Ireland by contactless debit cards as the second most common method of payment overall, used frequently by 59 per cent of people, and used most by those aged over 55 (62 per cent).


However, Ireland’s youngest adult cohort of 18- to 24-year-olds had the second lowest level of contactless debit card use among the seven surveyed countries, at 40 per cent, and the second highest use of mobile payment services, at 54 per cent.

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While 43 per cent of Irish respondents noted that cash has the benefit of anonymity, 64 per cent rated contactless cards as fast, with 57 per cent noting their convenience.

The survey also highlighted that Ireland had the highest proportion of people who experienced issues or concerns when using digital payment methods, at 63 per cent, compared to an average across all countries surveyed of 49 per cent.

Revolut was the most popular digital payments provider among Irish respondents, with 55 per cent of adults using the banking app.

As some 56 per cent of people said they will use card payments, online and mobile payments services more frequently in the next two years, partner and country lead at BearingPoint Ireland Gillian O’Sullivan said there is “potential opportunity to create a standardised, digital, European payment solution”.

“While cash is still the predominant form of payment method in Ireland, the rate at which digital payments are used is likely to increase over the next couple of years. Contactless card payments are viewed as the fastest and most convenient payment method for people and 54 per cent of young adults use mobile payment services frequently,” she said.

Ellen O'Regan

Ellen O’Regan

Ellen O’Regan is an Irish Times journalist.