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More than €1 billion spent in contactless payments during May as economy re-opens

The daily spend of individual contactless payment users exceeded €16 for only the second time since 2016.

Image: Shutterstock/fizkes

CONSUMERS MADE MORE than two million contactless payments per day in May worth more than €1 billion, new figures have revealed.

The statistics, released today by the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), show that Irish users broke the highest daily level since monitoring began in 2016.

Brian Hayes, Chief Executive of the BPFI, suggested the increased spend across the economy could be due to an easing of Covid-19 restrictions. 

“In May we saw a total of 67.2 million contactless payments made over the course of the month worth over €1,078 million. At 2.2 million payments per day this is the highest daily level recorded since BPFI began gathering this data in 2016,” he said. 

“The figures also show a jump of 73% in the monthly volumes of contactless payments year on year with the value of rising by 82% to almost €1.1 billion during the same period.

“Additionally the average payment value exceeded €16 for only the second time since the data series began at €16.04.

“The increase we have seen in contactless spending during the course of May likely reflects the easing of Covid-related restrictions on many businesses, including retail and personal services, during this period.

“This is supported by daily data from the Central Bank of Ireland which indicates that in-store card spending grew strongly in May,” Hayes added.

Statistics released in April by the BPFI said a jump in contactless payments is a result of a higher transaction limit of €50. The average payment value rose from €11.92 in February 2020 to €15.88 in February this year. 

There has been a steady increase month-on-month since figures were first released for last year. 

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Figures released in January showed that Irish consumers spent one billion euro using contactless payments in Ireland over the Christmas period in December.

An average of €36.5 million was spent via contactless payments in Ireland every day during December, when 2.1 million people per day used contactless payments – overtaking the previous peak of 2.01 million people per day in September.

Many people switched to using contactless payments last year or increased how often they use them as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the government raised the maximum amount that a person could spend via a contactless payment from €30 to €50.

The volume and value of contactless payments in the last quarter of 2020 rose by 23.7% compared with the three months previously, and 63.4% year-on-year to €2.8 billion.

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