Central Bank of Ireland publishes ‘Behind the Data’ on credit and debit card spending - enhanced insights to be published monthly

29 September 2023 Press Release

Today (Friday, 29 September) the Central Bank of Ireland publishes a new Behind the Data (BTD) paper on credit and debit card spending data for Irish households. The BTD features insights on regional spending patterns on a county-by-county basis across Ireland, the usage of contactless payments (including mobile digital wallets), and a sectoral and sub-sectoral breakdown of card spending. The new card payment insights outlined in this BTD will be published monthly under the updated “Monthly Card Payment Statistics” dataset.

The findings of this BTD (and its underlying underlying data tables) reveal that newer payment methods such as contactless card payments and digital mobile wallet card payments account for an increasing share of total card transactions, with contactless card transactions accounting for 84 per cent of all Point of Sale (POS) card transactions on a volume basis. New regional data on domestic spending by county shows that spending in Dublin accounts for over half of all monthly card payment activity. Card spending on groceries & perishables continues to account for a significantly high share of overall monthly card expenditure, representing 23 per cent of all card activity in H1 2023.

The data shows:

  • The total value of monthly card transactions (including cash withdrawals) averaged c. €6.8 billion per month during H1 2023, representing an average volume of 162 million card transactions per month.
  • Contactless card payments accounts for over three-quarters of the total volume of card payments excluding online/remote payment transactions. There were an average 103 million contactless card transactions recorded per month over the period, with an equivalent value of €1.7 billion
  • The data shows that mobile wallets (such as Apple Pay / Google Pay) are increasingly used as a payment method. During H1 2023, mobile wallet card payments accounted for 32 per cent of all card transactions undertaken at a POS terminal.
  • However, in value terms, contactless card and mobile-wallet card payments account for a smaller proportion of overall POS card payment transactions, accounting for 51 and 22 per cent, respectively. This represents the fact that contactless card payments are still more generally used for lower value payments.
  • New regional data reveals that 53 per cent of all card payments by value occurred in Dublin. Card spending in other large cities such as Cork and Galway rank second and third highest respectively.
  • Dublin is also top of the scale with total card payments equating to €12.6 million per 1,000 population. On the other hand, Offaly is the lowest ranking county for card spending by population.
  • Cash withdrawals per 1,000 population was highest in Carlow followed by Dublin. Westmeath was the lowest ranking county for cash withdrawals in the period by population
  • Card spending in the ‘Retail’ sector accounts for 47 per cent of all domestic spending. Within the Retail sector, card spending in the ‘Groceries/Perishables’ sub-sector represented 23 per cent of total domestic card spending, accounting for €1.3bn spent in H1 2023

The new data will prove useful to those conducting research and market analysis on personal spending, financial services in Ireland, trends in payment statistics and align with wider European payments data initiatives. Enhanced publications like today’s are in keeping with a key part of the Central Bank’s Strategy to advance the analysis and research on economic and financial issues and by developing  new, accessible and trusted statistics.




Notes to editors

Compared to previously published Credit & Debit Card Statistics data, there are a number of methodological changes within the new data collection.