Credit and debit card spending jumps by 47%

Credit And Debit Card Spending Jumps By 47% Credit And Debit Card Spending Jumps By 47%
A bustling Henry street following the phased reopening of non-essential retail, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Cate McCurry, PA

The amount of credit and debit card spending jumped by 47 per cent in the last year, new figures show.

The spike amounted to an annual increase of €2 billion which was recorded in April this year.

However, April 2020 experienced the most significant decline due to the introduction of Covid-19 health restrictions in late March.

It represented the lowest monthly spending level in over four years.

The amount of credit and debit card spending jumped by 47 per cent in the last year, new figures show (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The amount of card spending, including ATM withdrawals, in April this year dropped by five per cent compared to March.

Point of sale (PoS) spending was six per cent lower in April compared to March, at €5.2 billion.

In annual terms, PoS spending was 49 per cent higher than April 2020, while ATM withdrawals remain subdued and fell by three per cent compared to the previous month.

The volume of card transactions reduced in April 2021, with the number of transactions falling by €7 million when compared to March.


In annual terms, this represents an increase of 51 per cent when compared to April 2020.

Total retail spending fell in April, down five per cent from March, and an increase of 32 per cent when compared to April 2020.

Accommodation, hardware, and transport were the sole sectors to record monthly increases of 16 per cent, five per cent and two per cent, respectively.

Due to the severe contraction in spending at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in April 2020, all sectors recorded year-on-year increases.

Spending on services fell by five per cent from March 2021, with all sectors, except accommodation and transport, decreasing on a monthly basis.

The largest reduction was education which fell by 27 per cent compared to March 2021, however, this was in part due to seasonality in educational spending.

Social spending fell by six per cent compared to March 2021, with spending on both restaurants and entertainment falling by three and nine per cent respectively.

Both are significantly higher in annual terms when compared with April 2020.


The latest daily sectoral data to May 24th shows increases in most sectors, with spending in the transport and accommodation sectors showing particularly strong growth, although both sectors remain significantly below their pre-pandemic levels.

Total online expenditure amounted to €2.6 billion in April, a decrease of eight per cent from March and representing an increase of 40 per cent in year-on-year terms.

Online spending accounted for 51 per cent of all PoS spending in April, continuing the reduction from January’s record high of 57 per cent.

Despite in-store spending declining by €97 million, the proportion of in-store spending accounted for 49 per cent of total PoS spending, up from 43 per cent in January, despite public health restriction remaining largely unchanged over the intervening months.

The latest daily data shows this trend of increasing in-store spending continuing in May.

When non-essential retail reopened, in-store spending rose sharply and once again became the primary method of card spending.

Monthly data is collected from the largest issuers of credit/debit cards resident in Ireland.

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