Most Irish adults now prefer contactless payments

Covid-19 has accelerated cashless payments while over 55s are the fastest growing digital commerce demographic.

There has been a rise in contactless card payments across all demographics, new research from payments giant Elavon reveals.

In particular, because of the pandemic there has been a strong uptake in spending among those aged 55 to 65.

“Online consumer spending and digital payments have accelerated in Ireland, like in many other parts of Europe, due to Covid-19”

In a survey on the e-commerce and payment habits of 1093 adults across Ireland with Ipsos Mori, Elavon found that 37pc of 55-65s spent more online than before the start of the ‘lockdown’ period in Ireland.

The research showed online spending increased across all age groups as more people opt to shop from home. Across the country in July 2020, e-commerce had risen year-on-year by 16pc (€311m) according to the Central Bank of Ireland.

Cash usage wanes

Elavon’s research also revealed that 59pc of adults in Ireland will actively opt for contactless and card payments as their preferred method for in-person purchases going forward. Similarly, the Central Bank of Ireland shows reductions in cash use, and consequently less cash has been withdrawn from ATMs; the value of ATM withdrawals is down 31pc in August 2020 compared to 2019. 

16-24-year olds were the least likely in Ireland to use cash, according to Elavon’s research, with just 12pc seeking to pay using coins or notes. The most likely to use cash were 55-65-year olds at 17pc – even so, this group is still three times more likely to use contactless and card payments.

The research confirmed a similar increase in eCommerce and cashless adoption in other parts of Europe. About half of all adults (52pc) in the UK and (48pc) in Poland and nearly a third of adults (32pc) in Germany, increased their online spending since Covid-19. 68% of all adults in the UK and 59pc in Poland said they would actively seek to use card or contactless payment going forward; in Germany, it’s just over a third (34pc).

“Online consumer spending and digital payments have accelerated in Ireland, like in many other parts of Europe, due to Covid-19,” said Eric Horgan, Head of Products, Elavon Europe.

“This trend is present across different generational groups. Online shopping became crucial when physical stores shut, but with social distancing ingrained and level five restrictions in place, many habits seem here to stay.”

“It’s a good opportunity for businesses to step-up. The easier companies can make the shopping and payments experience for customers, the more likely they can maximise shopper loyalty and revenue potential.”

By John Kennedy (

Published: 21 October, 2020