The use of debit cards for Point of Sale (POS) transactions, including contactless payments, and for e-commerce has resulted in major increases in transaction volumes and values in recent years. Currently, there are approximately 4.2m active debit cards from a total of 4.9m cards issued. The average ATM withdrawal is relatively static at €122 and average POS transaction is €47 and falling due to increase use of debit cards for low value contactless payments. In 2017, the average number of transactions per active debit card was 38 ATM transactions and 185 POS transactions. Debit card POS spending is now over three times the value of credit card spending. E-Commerce accounts for 26% debit card spending.

Debit card expenditure abroad (when the physical card is present) during 2017 amounted to €4.4 billion, an increase of 17% on the 2016 figure. The total value of debit card expenditure outside Ireland (including ATM tansactions) is 2.8 times the value of equivalent credit card expenditure.

From 2015 to 2017, overall POS transaction volumes have increased by 50% while transaction values have increased by 40%. Debit cards are rapidly replacing cash, cheques and credit cards as the primary method of paying for goods and services.

Ref: Payac MPCAS Update Volume 1, Issue 4. March 2018