The massive increase was driven by a number of factors including the continued migration from Laser cards to Visa debit cards, the introduction of new technology such as contactless payment terminals and Irish consumers becoming more comfortable about using cards, rather than cash, when paying for items.
The increase in card usage means that €1 in every €4 spent by Irish consumers, per year, is via a Visa card; with debit card payments comprising as much as 80%. That figure was €1 in every €11 as recently as 2010 and Visa is targeting a ratio of €1 in €3 by the end of 2015.
“Ireland is on the path to closing the gap with the rest of Europe, in terms of the use of electronic payments,” according to Visa Europe’s country manager for Ireland, Conor Langford.
“The last year has shown that Irish consumers are very keen on adopting new technologies — such as contactless payments — and 2014 will be no different, as we launch our digital wallet and P2P mobile services in Ireland,” he said.
On a Europe-wide basis, Visa made a pre-tax surplus of €264m last year, with revenue up by just over 9% at €1.2bn.
Total Visa cardholder expenditure — on a pan-European basis — amounted to €2 trillion in 2013, up from €1.8tn the previous year.
In Ireland, more than 1.4m Visa contactless transactions were carried out up to the end of September, displacing over €10m in cash usage.
Mr Langford said that Visa is an “active participant” in the National Payments Plan, here, and said that the Government’s planned ‘e-Day’, next September — which will see no cheque-based payments made between Government and business — could be the catalyst for a broader move towards an electronic payment culture in Ireland.