Cash is still king but contactless payments lure consumers

Payments by debit card, mobile wallet continue to grow

Contactless payments – both via debit cards and in mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay – now account for one in four payments by card. Photograph: iStock

Contactless payments – both via debit cards and in mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay – now account for one in four payments by card. Photograph: iStock

 

Card payments surged in the second half of the year as Irish consumers turned to contactless payments on both card and mobile and moved away from cash, a new survey has revealed.

Consumers were also increasingly opting to transfer money through online and mobile banking, with more than one in three credit transfers taking place on digital channels, amounting to 46 million transactions over the period, a rise of more than 27 per cent year on year.

While card payments surged in the latter months of 2017, the amount of cash withdrawn from ATMs fell for the second successive quarter in the final three months of the year, the BPFI Payments Monitor from Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) showed. A total of €9.8 billion in cash was withdrawn from machines in the second half of the year.

The survey said the volume of card payments rose by 20.4 per cent compared with the same period in 2016. Contactless payments – both via debit cards and in mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay – now account for one in four payments by card, amounting to €1.6 billion in the latter six months of 2017.

The use of cheques, meanwhile, is declining, but more than 20 million transactions were carried out using this method of payment.

However, despite signs of a shift to digital, Ireland still remains a cash-heavy society, especially at the point of sale.

“Payment card usage is growing fast but cash remains the main payment instrument in Ireland and in most European countries,” the survey said, noting there was still some way to go. “Assuming current trends continue, we estimate it will be at least 2020 before payment cards overtake cash in Ireland.”