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Money being spent on credit and debit cards is almost back to pre-Covid levels

There was a sharp drop in ATM withdrawals in April.

Image: Shutterstock/Hadrian

CREDIT AND DEBIT card spending is almost back to pre-Covid-19 levels, rising by over 50% between mid-April and the start of June.

According to figures compiled by the Central Bank of Ireland, during the first week of March (pre-Covid-19 restrictions), €1.488 billion was spent on debit and credit cards (including ATM withdrawals), and by 16 April this had dropped 41.2% to €875 million.

By the week ending 8 June, new spending on debit and credit cards had increased significantly to €1.317 billion, a rise of 50.6% from 16 April.

The number of transactions on debit and credit cards fell 36.2% from 28.38 million to 18.12 million between the first week in March and the week ending 16 April. However, the numbers recovered to 25.09 million by the week ending 8 June, a rise of 38.5% compared with 16 April.

ATM withdrawals indicate the use of cash to pay for goods and services. During the first week of March, €368 million was withdrawn at ATMs and this dropped 60.0% to €147 million by 16 April but recovered in part to €242 million by 8 June.

The number of ATM transactions fell by 65.9% from 2.67 million during the first week of March to 0.91 million by 16 April but rose to 1.42 million by 8 June.

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However, even with this partial recovery in ATM transactions, the numbers on 8 June remain significantly lower compared with the first week in March, with falls of 34.3% in the amount of cash withdrawn and 46.7% in the number of transactions.

As a response to Covid-19, the Central Bank began collecting and publishing daily credit and debit card statistics, supplementing their existing monthly data. The transaction figures are an early indicator for household consumption and economic activity.

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Órla Ryan

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