Contactless payments continue to soar as cash is shunned

Covid crisis sees use of ATMs and cheques falling as in-store payments go contactless

Some 320 million card payments were made by consumers and businesses in the first quarter as use of ATMs continued to slow due to the Covid-19 crisis.

With many businesses only accepting cashless payments, the use of ATMs to withdraw cash fell by 44 per cent during the January to March period, with cheque usage down 26 per cent.

Contactless payments volumes by contrast jumped 12.9 per cent to almost 149 million in the first quarter, according to figures compiled by Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).

The growth in contactless payments has been largely driven by migration from cash payments at the point of sale. In-store contactless payments, which includes payments with cards as well as mobile wallets such as Apple Pay or Google Pay, made up 47 per cent of first-quarter payments.



Credit transfers made via personal online or mobile banking volumes rose, growing by 9.3 per cent year on year to 30.3 million payments. Direct debit usage meanwhile declined slightly, which can be attributed to the Covid-19 restrictions.

"With the reopening of the county now under way and likely to gather pace in the weeks and months ahead, we anticipate that the upward trends in electronic payments will continue into the future with an ongoing decline in cash and paper based methods," said Brian Hayes, chief executive of BPFI.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist