Visa spending propels Ireland to cashless society

Ireland is fast moving towards becoming a cashless society, with new data from Visa showing a 12.7% rise in card spending last year to €31.7bn. Visa Europe, which issued the figures for 2015, said that, by the end of last year, there were 5.7m cards in the Irish market. Around 80% of them are debit cards.

Towards the end of last year, the rate of contactless payments in Ireland was one per -second, but this year that has already risen to two per second, driven by the increase in the threshold for such payments from €15 to €30.

Philip Konopik, Visa Europe’s Ireland country manager, said the figures were good news for the economy and Visa Europe CEO Nicolas Huss said it was the company’s most successful year ever. Referring to the 16% rise in card transactions and the 12% increase in spending in those transactions, Mr Konopik said: “Some of that spending is coming from an increase in personal consumption, and most of the increase is a movement from consumers and retailers from cash to visa cards and that has been accelerated by contactless payments.”

Of the Visa transactions in the market, one in every seven is now contactless, while transactions with a visa card — debit, credit, or prepaid — now account for more than €1 in every €3 of Irish consumer spending.

Visa said it did not have a breakdown of what people were using their cards to buy, but Mr Konopik said: “What we would see is Visa cards being used for all types and categories of payment, but the main driver in the last 12 month has been consumers being more comfortable using visa cards for everyday spend.

“Transactions are growing faster than the actual spend on the cards.”

The 16% rise in the number of card-based transactions resulted in 584m transactions taking place last year, while the average transaction value for the 12-month period fell 4% — indicating more low value transactions

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