Contactless Payments Reach a Record High in Ireland

June 22, 2021
Sarah Gormley

Over the past year, the amount of contactless payments worldwide has increased massively. The global Covid-19 pandemic is the driving force behind the high demand for contactless payment services as consumers and producers are both focused on limiting the amount of physical contact for safety purposes. The ability to make a payment without having to exchange cash or even press the buttons on a pin pad has helped make both parties feel much safer.

The Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) published the contactless payments figures on May 8, 2021, giving more insight as to how great the growth has been. Within the 12 months ending in March 2021, a total of €9.745 billion was through contactless transactions. In March 2021 alone, €948 million was recorded for the number of contactless payments in Ireland, 72.2% higher than the same period the previous year which was €550 million. Day-by-day the number of contactless payments was at €1.9 million, valuing €30.6 million total in March 2021. In comparison, in March of the previous year, the payments added up to €17.8 million daily.

The BPFI report helps us see that contactless payments in the last year reached their peak in December 2020 at €1.132 billion in sales and a total of 65.2 million transactions within that one month, despite dropping in numbers in November. This is the first time that contactless payments in Ireland have exceeded one billion euros — this will go down in history!

In comparison, the lowest amount of payments was in April 2020 at €470.9 million in sales and a total of 30.9 million transactions. This being the month that the Covid-19 pandemic sent us into the first lockdown, it makes sense for April to have the lowest amount of payments for the year. At the beginning of the pandemic, many people were hesitant to leave the house and even spend money. After a few months had passed and people had settled into a new way of life, contactless payments became increasingly popular.

Brian Hayes, Chief Executive of BPFI states that the growth in contactless payments over the last year is “phenomenal.” He also comments that “The pandemic has undoubtedly played a considerable role in driving this change in consumer behavior, something we expect to continue as the country begins to open back up again,” demonstrating his optimism for what the economy may turn to in the future regarding contactless transactions.

The question that still stands in regards to the future is: Will cash payments disappear altogether?



“BPFI Payments Monitor – Contactless Update March 2021.” Banking & Payments Federation Ireland, 7 May 2021,

McNally, Tadgh. “Almost €10 Billion Worth of Contactless Payments Made over the Past Year.”,

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