Credit unions that offer current accounts have added Apple Pay to their services.
The move comes as one of the leading credit unions in the State has decided to stop providing its members with the option of a current account.
The decision by Savvi Credit Union to drop its current account offering is seen as a blow to moves by the sector to roll out current accounts that come with debit cards.
It comes as credit unions are set to make a pitch to get thousands of Ulster Bank current account customers to sign up with them, through the Currentaccount.ie brand.
Savvi chief executive Mark Beirne said there was low take-up of the current account option among members.
He said a review of what the lender offers and feedback from members led to a decision to close the current account services from next January, and concentrate on mortgages and SME lending. It would still offer online banking, he said.
The credit union has 23,000 members, and was formed by a merger of the lenders servicing ESB workers; people who work for Mediahuis Ireland, the Irish Independent publisher; along with the credit union for The Irish Times staff.
It has assets of €380m, and saw its surplus rise by 15pc to €303,000 last year.
Other credit unions are understood to be lined up to launch the current account, that comes with a Mastercard debit card, through the Currentaccount.ie brand.
Forty-five of the largest credit unions in the State are now signed up to offer the account, with around 50,000 accounts opened.
The Currentaccount.ie brand already offers Google Pay and Fitbit Pay, along with giving customers debit cards, online banking and a mobile app. It has now added Apple Pay for those with an iPhone or an Apple Watch.
Seamus Newcombe of Currentaccount.ie said Apple Pay is a secure and private way to pay that helps avoid handing a debit card to someone else, touching physical buttons or exchanging cash.
Members of participating credit unions hold their iPhone or Apple Watch near a payment terminal to make a contactless payment.
He said every Apple Pay purchase is secure because it is authenticated with Face ID, Touch ID or a device passcode, as well as a one-time unique dynamic security code.
Another five credit unions have signed up to offer the current account, according to Mr Newcombe of Currentaccount.ie, which was set up by credit unions to provide the current account.
Approved by the Central Bank, the credit union current account offers a Mastercard debit card, free point-of-sale and contactless payments, free standing orders and debit processing and mobile and internet banking.
There is a monthly fee of €4, which finance experts said was the best value in the market.
There is also an overdraft facility, but credit unions do not charge surcharge interest on unauthorised overdrafts.
Mr Newcombe said his organisation and its member credit unions would be making a pitch for some of the 500,000 current accounts that are expected to be shut when Ulster Bank closes.