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Irish people shunning cash for cards - but still lag behind EU average

New data shows that Irish people are embracing cashless transactions – but we’re still behind the European average.

Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

IRISH PEOPLE are beginning to shun cash in exchange for paying with debit cards – but are still lagging behind their European counterparts, new data has shown.

Figures published by the Irish Payment Services Organisation showed that Irish people had made 10.7 million online transactions in the first quarter of 2011, an increase of over a sixth on the same period from last year.
2.8 million people in Ireland – almost the entirety of the adult population – are now registered for phone or internet banking, IPSO said.

While the volume of cash withdrawn by Irish people from ATMs dropped by just under 12 per cent in 2010, ATM withdrawals still totalled €22.3 billion last year.

That volume of withdrawals meant that Irish people, on average, withdrew €5,000 each at ATMs last year – the highest of any EU country. The average account holder made 40 withdrawals over the course of the year.

Figures already garnered for the opening months of 2011 had already shown that the downward trend of ATM withdrawals had continued.

IPSO said the transition to electronic payments could help to save €1bn to the Irish economy.

Chief executive Pat McLoughlin remarked: “The fact that there is a clear trend towards greater usage of debit cards is a sign that Ireland is embracing a new era in consumer transactions.

“It is essential that Irish consumers continue to take the lead from their European counterparts in switching to more efficient payment methods as this will positively impact on Ireland’s economic competitiveness”.

Previously: ATM fraud: five times more common now than in 2010 >

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Gavan Reilly

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