Reopening saw Visa debit card transactions soar in Ireland

Bank of Ireland recorded its highest ever monthly levels of Visa debit card transactions, with spending levels spiking across the counties.

Debit and credit card transactions rose higher in June as lockdown restrictions eased across Ireland and parts of the hospitality sector reopened.

According to Bank of Ireland – which says it has recorded its highest ever monthly levels of card transactions, spending spiked by 5pc in Dublin while Mayo witnessed monthly spending figures rise 2.1pc. Spending in Cork was up 4.5pc and Donegal led the way in Ulster with a rise of nearly 3pc.

“Though it remains to be seen what developments July brings in terms of further reopening’s, these data sets show that no matter what restrictions remain in place people are adaptable, and are still keen to get out and explore the country in new and inventive ways”

Outdoor bar service really surged ahead in June as people across the country enjoyed a pint or glass of wine ‘al fresco’ as the sector enjoyed an overall spending increase of 273pc.

Spending surged by over 370pc among the 18-to-25 year old cohort, and by 273pc by those in the 26-to-35 age bracket. In restaurants offering outdoor dining the 55-to-65 age group produced a spending increase of 52pc, compared to 37pc from those in the 36-to-45 bracket.

Summertime and the living is easy

Irish people took to the roads and enjoyed various forms of domestic travel options in June, as the ‘stay-cation’ came to prominence. Car rentals rose by 35pc, bus lines were 48pc busier, boat rentals and leases ticked up by over 98pc and charges on toll roads and bridges were up over 21pc. There was strong support for the airline industry also, with spending in this sector up over 27pc as people eyed up some foreign travel bargains.

Families flocked to tourist attractions and exhibitions (+101pc), cinemas (+2,286pc) and amusement parks and carnivals (+129pc) as the summer holidays arrived for secondary school students and loomed on the horizon for younger children. Spending in sports clubs was up 8pc, bowling alleys filled up (+576pc), while recreational spending spiked by over 79pc as parents booked their kids in for summer camps over the summer months. 

Hotels, motels, inns and resorts witnessed a massive spending spike of 212pc (hotel spending was highest amongst the 55-plus age group at +260pc), with spending on trailer parks and camping grounds up by 29pc. Though indoor-dining in restaurants remains off the menu many have adapted to the outdoor dining options, which proved popular in June (+43pc).

June’s total debit and credit card total spending analysis also revealed more rises across the age cohorts in keeping with the loosening of certain lockdown restrictions. Perhaps not surprisingly the 56-to-65 year-olds led the way overall (+5pc), followed by 46-to-55 year olds (4.5pc) but then followed by the youngest group (18-to-25) who produced a spending rise of 4pc for the month in shaking off some lockdown rust.

“June was an extraordinarily busy month for Visa debit card transactions, with our analysis revealing it to be the busiest month on record – even busier than December 2020,” said Christian Pierce, group chief data and analytics officer at Bank of Ireland.

“It comes as no surprise to see young people availing of outdoor hospitality in June and families flocking to popular holiday spots across the country, while the regional spending data paints an increasingly positive picture nationwide. 

“June saw another monthly rise of over 4pc in total debit and credit card spending, with family pursuits, domestic travel and outdoor hospitality to the fore. Though it remains to be seen what developments July brings in terms of further reopening’s, these data sets show that no matter what restrictions remain in place people are adaptable, and are still keen to get out and explore the country in new and inventive ways.”

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 7 July 2021