Irish consumers quick to embraceone cashless payments, global survey finds

Thursday, June 2, 2022 4 minute read

4 minute read

Our 2022 global survey assessed people’s attitudes and behaviours towards different payment methods. On average, the survey found Ireland to be a more cashless society compared to 13 other countries participating in the survey.

  • Irish shoppers are more likely to choose electronic methods of payment with 63% of shoppers preferring to use cashless payments when shopping in -store, higher than other countries surveyed.
  • The popularity of paying through wearable devices continues to rise with almost two- thirds of Irish people surveyed having used mobile wallets to make in-store payments.
  • Irish people perceive businesses where cashless payments are available as more modern and customer-centric.
  • Irish people are using internet and mobile banking more than people in other countries.
  • Irish businesses are divided on whether they will become cashless in the next decade, with Dublin (55%) and Galway (51%) businesses ahead of the trend. Donegal businesses are an outlier (36%) to the national average of 47%.

Irish consumers lead the charge as adopters of cashless payment alternatives

While recent data has demonstrated that accelerated payment habits during the Covid-19 pandemic have stuck, we now see how Ireland has progressed to being a leading adopter of cash alternatives compared to other countries. Cashless payments are the preferred method of payment for shopping offline across all countries surveyed at 55%. However, the preference in Ireland is higher at 63%.

Irish consumers are more inclined to pay by card, virtual wallet or online across a range of situations including grocery shopping, eating out, at the fuel pump, at public institutions and for entertainment.

The availability of card and contactless facilities also impacts consumers perceptions of businesses with people living in Ireland perceiving businesses with card and/ or online payment options as being more modern (82%) and customer-centric (74%).

Only 3% of people surveyed do not use card or digital payments in any situation. This is half the average across the other countries surveyed (6%).

Rise of digital wallet usage

The popularity of digital wallets and wearable devices to make payments continues to rise with Irish consumers. Sixty-five percent  of people surveyed now use mobile wallets, 38% of whom useing this method of payment several times a day. Sixty-seven percent are using virtual wallets for online spend with 24% using this option several times a day.

A further 15% of participants who do not yet use virtual or mobile wallets claimed that they intend to use them in the near future.

Mobile and internet banking most popular in Ireland

The survey also shows Irish people’s uptake of digital payments also translates into higher digital engagement with banking services, with mobile and internet banking more popular in Ireland. Almost 74% of bank customers use mobile banking 2-3 times a month with 27% using it once a day.

People in Ireland also contact the bank by phone and visit the bank’s branch less often than people in other countries. Fifty-two percent of respondents never use their bank’s phone banking channel. The number of times bank branches are visited is also low but just over 50% of people still visit, or intend to visit, their branch once a month or less.

Country divided on possibility of going cashless within a decade

The findings from the global survey are reflective of the views merchants expressed in BOIPA’s SME Insights 2023 survey conducted in March 2023. Over 2,000 BOIPA merchants took part in the survey with more than half claiming that over 70% of their customer base now pay with a card. The general increase in cashless payments over cash transactions is viewed positively by almost two-thirds of businesses

This has left Irish businesses finely split over whether they expect to become fully cashless in the next ten years. Nationally, Forty-seven percent of businesses believe this is now a distinct possibility.

Standout counties

The counties most confident of this transition are Dublin (55%) and Galway (51%). Wicklow (50%), Laois, Limerick (49%), Kildare, Tipperary, Waterford, and Carlow (48%) also scored above the national average.

At the other end of the scale, Donegal businesses were the least optimistic with only 36% believing it to be a possibility. Similarly, just over 40% of businesses in Kerry, Cavan and Louth also felt they could become cashless in the next ten years.

Businesses from the remaining 13 counties surveyed aligned with the national average.

Consumer appetite for payment solutions

“While the high number of people preferring digital alternatives over cash comes as no surprise, this survey offers rich insights into where Ireland fits against other markets in being a leading adopter of innovative payment options. The technological advancements within Irish banking and financial services have been matched by merchant and consumer appetite for payment solutions that make day-to-day transactions simpler and more convenient,” reflected BOIPA Country Manager Barry Gray.

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