Card spending rises to €7.7bn as consumers go on spree

Total card spending up 18% or €1.2bn on an annual basis with PoS spend jumping 7%

Use of credit and debit cards jumped 6 per cent to €7.7 billion in August as consumers went on a spending spree following the lifting of Covid restrictions.

On an annual basis, total card spending was up 18 per cent or €1.2 billion compared with the same month a year earlier.

Average daily spending continued to rise the following month, up 3 per cent or €138 million to September 20th, figures from the Central Bank show.

Point of sale (PoS) spending rose 7 per cent in August compared with July, to €6.5 billion, and was 21 per cent higher than the same month in 2020.


ATM withdrawals increased 3 per cent month-on-month to €1.2 billion, marking the fourth month in a row that withdrawals have risen.

The volume of card transactions, excluding ATM usage, was up 5 per cent or €7.3 million compared with July. In annual terms, this represents a 20 per cent increase compared with August 2020. The average value of transactions was flat, however, at €43 million.

Card expenditure outside of the State was up 47 per cent in August to €346 million as more people resumed travelling. On an annual basis, expenditure was 70 per cent higher.

A breakdown of the spending shows retail spend was up 2 per cent in August compared with July and increased 10 per cent compared with the same month a year earlier. Spending on services was 12 per cent higher on a monthly basis with spending on social activities up 18 per cent.

In terms of the latter, restaurant spending rose 23 per cent or €92 million when compared with July, and was up 36 per cent compared with August 2020. Entertainment spending also experienced strong growth, rising 9 per cent or €20 million compared with July.

Total online spending rose despite shops reopening. Expenditure rose 8 per cent to €2.8 billion compared with the previous month and was 27 per cent higher on an annual basis. Total in-store spending increased by €201 million on a monthly basis. It accounted for 57 per cent of all PoS spending in August.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist