Credit to the Irish: Overseas spending with cards rises to €1.4bn

Irish consumers are spending more money on their credit cards when they travel overseas, according to information from Visa Europe.

Figures published by the company show its Irish customers last year spent €1.36bn with their credit cards while overseas — an increase of 8% on the corresponding figure for 2014.

Visa Europe estimates €3.75m is spent worldwide on a daily basis by Irish Visa cardholders.

The overall increase in spending across debit, credit and prepaid card was driven by a surge in spending in European countries, in particular Spain, Italy, and Germany.

The amount spent by Irish people in the UK actually declined last year by 4% although, at over €400m, more Irish money was spent in Britain than any other country.

The €214.6m spent in Spain in 2015 amounted to a 22% increase compared with the figure for 2014; the spend in Italy jumped by 25% to €66.5m; and the spend in Germany rose by 20% to €33m.

Other countries to see a significant increase in the amount of money spent there by Irish consumers included the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates, with more modest increases in similar spending in Portugal, France, and the US, where Irish people spent €165.7m last year using their credit cards.

The amount spent in Australia last year fell by 5% to €21.7m.

New flight routes led to a 97% increase in spending by Irish travellers in Iceland, albeit from a low base.

The figures also show more than 40% of the spending — amounting to €548m — occurred when Irish tourists took holidays between June and September.

A spokesperson for Visa Europe said: “The increase which we have seen in cross-border spending across Visa cards — debit, credit, and prepaid — is, we believe, a culmination of factors. Increased spending, a higher number of holidays, and greater usage of cards all contributed to the increase. The increased number applies to Irish cards and does not differentiate from where an individual is living.”

Philip Konopik, country manager Ireland Visa Europe, said: “We saw a significant increase in spending by Irish Visa cardholders abroad last year, highlighting the growth in foreign travel as the economy recovers.”

The company said it had updated its Visa Travel Tools app ahead of the summer holiday season, with the app containing information including an ATM locator, currency converter, and holiday spending tips for travellers .


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