Contactless transactions drive debit card use to near record high

Central Bank figures show value of debit and credit card transactions continues to grow

Credit card point of sale  transactions amounted to €894m in June, while e-commerce transactions using credit cards totalled €394m

Credit card point of sale transactions amounted to €894m in June, while e-commerce transactions using credit cards totalled €394m

 

The value of debit and credit card transactions in the Republic continues to grow at record levels, fuelled by the popularity of contactless payments.

New figures from the Central Bank show debit card point of sale (PoS) transactions totalled €2.9 billion in June, which was 16 per cent higher than the same month last year and close to a record high.

Debit card e-commerce transactions, where the physical card is not present as when shopping online, amounted to €873 million, some 25 per cent higher than the same month a year ago.

Credit card PoS transactions, meanwhile, amounted to €894 million in June, while e-commerce transactions using credit cards totalled €394 million.

Contactless cards were introduced several years ago and their increasing popularity appears to suggest consumers have overcome their initial hang up about the new technology .

Debit card PoS spending was more than three times the value of credit card spending in June with increases recorded across all categories of spending, but services and social spending had the highest increases over the year, at 20 per cent and 23 per cent respectively.

Abroad

People are also using debit cards more frequently abroad. The figures show that total debit card expenditure outside Ireland amounted to €1.1 billion in the three months to the end of June, some 17 per cent higher than the corresponding period last year. Credit card expenditure outside Ireland saw a 5 per cent increase in second quarter.

“ Credit or debit card expenditure outside Ireland [when the physical card is present] provides an indication of expenditure abroad by Irish tourists,” the Central Bank said.

“ A large seasonal effect can be seen in the data, particularly for debit cards, with higher expenditures outside Ireland recorded in the summer months than in the winter months,” it added.

Irish consumers still have a sizeable level of credit-card debt, with about €1.1 billion of outstanding credit-card balances liable for interest in June.

Some 7 per cent of these cards have exceeded their credit limit, while 36 per cent have balances of 76-100 per cent of their credit limit. This represents a 3 per cent and 1 per cent respective decrease in these categories from the amounts recorded when the series began in January 2015, the bank said.