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43 percent of Irish consumers avoid shops that don’t accept card payment – survey


  • Almost 75 percent of card holders use contactless payments, two-thirds at least weekly.
  • 53 percent prefer shopping in person, compared to one in five who prefer online shopping.
  • Over a quarter would go to a competitor if online shopping was not an option with their preferred retailer
  • Mobile payment services like Apple Pay and Android Pay still used infrequently, but majority who have used it report preferring it over traditional card payment;
  • Brian Cleary, Managing Director of BOI Payment Acceptance: “Soon, we expect that contactless, and other cashless methods of payment, will be the norm for day to day spend.”

43 percent of Irish consumers have at one stage intentionally avoided a shop that didn’t have card or contactless payment facilities, according to a new survey by card payment provider BOI Payment Acceptance (BOIPA).

The survey, conducted by Amarach Research among 1,000 Irish adults, found that almost three-quarters (73 percent) of Irish card holders use contactless payments and for two-thirds at least weekly, with ‘millennials’ (25-34 year olds) being the most prolific users of contactless payments – 81 percent have used it at least once.

Smartphone payments

Ireland’s payment landscape is changing fast. In addition to the rapid proliferation of contactless payment services, mobile payment services, which allows consumers to pay for goods and services via their smartphone, have recently been adopted by some financial institutions in Ireland.

This usage is, however, still relatively limited: only 12 percent of Irish consumers have used mobile payment services like Apple Pay or Android Pay, and this is highest among millennials (25 percent). However, of those that have used or do use mobile payments, it was narrowly preferred over payment with debit cards (50 percent vs 44 percent).

Consumers still prefer shopping in person

Irish people spent approximately €9 billion online in 2016 and this is expected to grow to €14 billion by 2021. In light of this growth in online sales, 53 percent of consumers still prefer shopping in person.  An additional 21 percent favour online shopping and the remaining 26 percent have no preference.

Despite this preference for shopping in person, over a quarter (26 percent) of those surveyed would go to a competitor if online shopping was not an option with their preferred retailer.

Millennials migrate online

Online shopping proved most popular amongst millennials, with 33 percent favouring making online or in-app purchases on items including groceries, clothes, air travel, books and music versus 15% or less for those aged over 45.  And surprisingly in the age of the smartphone the majority of consumers (48%) conduct their online shopping via Laptops with a quarter (24%) favouring smartphones,  followed by 17% on desktop; and 11% on tablet.

Commenting on the survey, Brian Cleary, Managing Director of BOIPA, said: “Despite the relative newness of the technology, contactless payment has already made a significant impact on consumer spending habits. When we conducted a similar survey in 2016, 54 percent used contactless and 45 percent used it at least once a week—in just over a year, those numbers have increased significantly, to 73 and 66 percent respectively.

“Nearly half of those surveyed have at one stage intentionally avoided a shop that didn’t offer card or contactless payment facilities. This represents a sizeable loss of business for those yet to adopt this technology.

“Furthermore, businesses are increasingly aware that consumers expect to have the option to buy products and services online or in person. The research suggests that business owners that are unable to sell their product online may be inadvertently pushing their customers into the arms of their competitors.

“The survey also shows that Irish consumers are willing to experiment with and adopt to other new payment technologies, specifically mobile payment through services like Apple Pay and Android Pay. Of the small number of people that have tried mobile payment, most prefer it to paying with their card. This is heightened amongst millennials aged between 25 and 34, so this is obviously a clear window into the future.