SHOPPERS are increasingly making the switch from cash to plastic cards. New data shows that one in every €4 is now being spent on Visa debit, credit and prepaid cards.
Visa, the electronics payments processor owned by banks, said €21bn was spent on its cards in the Irish market last year. The figure is up 83pc and it is the first time the spend on plastic cards here topped €21bn.
The surge in use is being helped by banks replacing the old Laser cards with Visa debit cards. These are cards that can be used to make payments and withdraw money from ATMs, but unlike a credit card, a consumer can only spend or get cash if they have funds in their account.
The rise of payments being made on cards is also due to consumers becoming more comfortable with electronic transactions, according to Visa Ireland manager Conor Langford.
Consumers also spent €10m last year on "contactless payments" – this is where items up to the value of €15 can be paid for by touching a debit card on a terminal, without the need to enter a personal identification number (PIN).
Irish people share with the French the highest usage of cash and cheques, various studies have found. Some 76 million cheques were written last year, to the value of €301bn, according to separate information from the Irish Payments Services Organisation.