More than half of consumers in Ireland are now making contactless payments — with time-saving deemed the system’s biggest advantage.
Contactless payments allow customers pay with their cards without entering a PIN.
Latest consumer research shows that 54% of debit and credit card owners use a contactless card when paying for goods and services.
The cap on contactless payments doubled last October, from €15 to €30, but a survey just published by BOI Payment Acceptance found that €11.33 is the average contactless payment.
Even though spending remains on the low side, 42% would like to see the €30 limit on contactless payments increased.
However, there needs to be greater promotion of the payment system with 45% unable to correctly identify the current limit.
Doubling the cap on spending in last year’s budget was part of a government plan to move Ireland into a cashless society.
The survey of 1,000 consumers, conducted by Amárach Research, found that time-saving is the biggest advantage of using contactless payments, with 58% of people saying it is quick.
Other benefits of using the system, according to the consumers, include safety, lower bank charges, and the convenience of not having to carry cash.
Almost six out of ten (57%) use contactless payments at least once a week, with 45% using the system a few times a week or more.
Using contactless payments is more common among 25-44-year-olds even though one in three do not know what the contactless symbol on their card means.
Almost one in four (38%) people said their card could not be used to make contactless payments, while more than one in four (28%) never thought of using it.
The top five items bought using contactless payments are food and groceries (75%), fuel (23%), alcohol (21%), clothes and shoes (21%), and newspapers and magazines (17%).
The survey found that debit cards are twice as common as credit cards, with 88% owning a debit card and 43% owning a credit card.
The vast majority of people aged between 35 and 44 are most likely (91%) to own a debit card, while the over-55s are most likely to own a credit card (59%).
BOI Payment acceptance is a payments technology alliance between Bank of Ireland and EVO Payments International.
BOI Payment Acceptance general manager Brian Cleary said there are more than 3m contactless debit or credit cards in Ireland and usage is growing rapidly.
Mr Cleary said contactless transactions now account for between 25% and 50% of all sales, depending on the sector.
“Despite almost 40% of those surveyed claiming not to carry a contactless card, in reality, approximately 90% of all debit cards in Ireland are now contactless,” he said.
Mr Cleary said the survey shows that one of the key steps in increasing contactless payments is to raise consumer awareness of the technology and its benefits.
“Currently, over 45,000 Irish businesses offer contactless payment facilities and contactless is very quickly becoming the norm for consumers and businesses alike.”
Mr Cleary said an accelerated reduction in cash transactions is expected over the next five years as businesses realise the advantages of using contactless cards instead of cash.
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