Debit card payments quadrupled since 2005

Debit cards on the rise with cheques languishing in the doldrums



21 March 2014

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More consumers switched to using debit cards in 2013 while the number of cheques used to pay for goods and services continued to decline. The ongoing trend has been confirmed by payment statistics released by the Irish Payment Services Organisation Ltd (IPSO).

Since 2005, debit card usage has more than quadrupled while cheques have declined for the 8th consecutive year. Fewer than 70 million cheques were used in Ireland in 2013, close to half the 132 million cheques used in 2005.

Although still one of the highest users of cash in the EU – making an average of almost €4,500 in cash withdrawals per capita in 2013 (second highest in the EU) – the volume of cash being paid out of ATMs in Ireland dropped by €5.3 billion, from €28.7 billion in 2008 to €20.4 billion in 2013.

Debit cards continued to be the favoured payment instrument for consumers in 2013 with a 10% growth to 341 million purchases and a 14% rise in the value of debit card sales to €17.6 billion; up from 309 million and €15.4 billion respectively in 2012.

Credit cards, on the other hand, saw a decline of just under 5% in 2013, continuing a trend that can be seen in many countries arising from a growing preference for debit cards.

The total spend on payment cards in Ireland last year was €28 billion, 35% higher than the total value of cash withdrawn from ATMs which was €20.4 billion.

Direct debits and credit transfers were adopted in greater numbers during 2013 with a record 140 million electronic credits made, worth €180 billion and 109 million electronic debits, valued at €96 billion.

Commenting on today’s figures, IBF/IPSO chief executive Noel Brett said: “The fact there is a clear trend towards greater usage of debit cards as well as a steady decline in cheques is a sign that Ireland is embracing a new era in payments and it will further benefit customers, retailers and businesses across the country as the speed and efficiency of payments further improve. One of the major initiatives of The National Payments Plan, ‘e-Day’ will see the end of cheque usage between the public sector and businesses from 19 September this year. This should encourage SMEs to migrate away from cheque usage and help boost Ireland’s competitiveness as SMEs are currently issuers or receivers of more than 60% of all cheques in Ireland.”



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