Card spending continues to rise as pandemic restrictions loosen

€237m more was spent on debit and credit cards in June compared with May

Irish people spent €7 billion in debit and credit card purchases in June, a rise of 3 per cent compared with May, new data from the Central Bank shows.

As restrictions on retail and services were loosened, in-store spending increased and card expenditure on hospitality jumped as that industry resumed services with some restrictions.

The figures, which include ATM withdrawals, showed €237 million more was spent on debit and credit cards in June compared with May. Data to July 19th indicated spending was broadly in line with June, declining by 1 per cent.

In-store spending was up 10 per cent, or €304 million, month on month, while annual figures showed a 22 per cent increase in comparison to June 2020, when some public health restrictions remained in place.


Online spending declined 5 per cent in June, a drop of €133 million, when compared to the previous month, but increased 10 per cent year-on-year.

Point of sale (POS) spending was 3 per cent higher compared to May, at €5.9 billion, and ATM withdrawals increased by 6 per cent to €1.1 billion. Although that was the highest level for the latter since December 2020, withdrawals remained significantly subdued compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Online spending accounted for 43 per cent of all POS spending in May, down from 57 per cent in January.

As services reopened, spending rose 16 per cent compared to the prior month, with transport seeing a 27 per cent rise

There was a dramatic monthly rise in card spending in accommodation as restrictions on hospitality were eased. Card spending in that sector was 184 per cent higher month on month,

Spending on cards in restaurants was up 41 per cent, or €97 million, with the beginning of outdoor dining.

Retail spending remained stable compared to May, with the total spend 1 per cent lower. Clothing saw a 5 per cent rise.

On the other side of the scale, card spending on groceries fell 5 per cent compared to May, declining by €66 million.

Discounting ATM usage, the volume of card transactions grew in June by 5 per cent or 6.3 million compared to May.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist