Number of ATM withdrawals falls 19% in five years

Irish consumers are making a big switch from cheques and paper-based payment methods to cards and online banking.

The scale of the switch- over from traditional payments methods to electronic formats is highlighted in a new report by the Irish Payment Services Organisation (IPSO).

The report shows that there has been a 62% reduction in the value of money transferred by cheque over the past five years.

The waning popularity of cheques has been replaced by the public’s appetite for card payments, direct debits, and other automated payments whose use has increased substantially over the same period.

The downturn in the economy has also resulted in less money being withdrawn from ATMs as people have less disposable income.

Some banks have recently begun to distribute €10 notes in response to customer demand for smaller note denominations to be available at ATMs.

The number of ATM withdrawals has dropped by 19% from 205m to 167m over the past five years, while the value of withdrawals has fallen by 30% from €29bn to €20bn.

The average number of ATM withdrawals per capita is down 21% from 46 to 36, with the average value of withdrawals down 32% from €6,474 to €4,375 per capita.

Irish consumers still remain big fans of cash as a payment method, despite an overall decline in its use, as the value of cash withdrawals in Ireland remains 66% above the EU average.

Despite the falling use of cheques, Ireland remains one of the few EU countries where they remain in regular use.

Meanwhile, the number of debit cards in circulation has increased 38% from 2.9m in 2008 to 4m last year with the figure rising to 6.1m when credit cards are included.

The number of all debit/ credit card transactions has risen by 19% over the same period — up from 300m to 357m — while the value of such payments has increased by 20%, from €11.5bn to €13.8bn.

While the number of automated credit payments has risen by 2% to 138m in 2012, their value fell by 6% — down from €291bn to €273bn.

IPSO chief executive Pat McLoughlin said that Irish consumers and businesses were moving towards more efficient payment tools which would help make Ireland a competitive market.

The switch towards electronic payment methods is a key focus of the National Payments Plan which has been approved by the Government.

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