The Central Bank of Ireland has released its latest Credit and Debit Card Statistics from Quarter 1 in 2017. Here is an overview of the key statistics in the report

  • Debit card point of sale spending in March increased 14 per cent on the same month in 2016.  In March 2017over €2.7 billion of debit card spending was attributable to Point of Sale (PoS). Total transactions on debit cards amounted to €4.3 billion, with the remaining €1.6 billion accounted for by ATM transactions (Chart 1). Credit card PoS spending amounted to €871 million in the month.
  • In March 2017 debit card e-commerce expenditure reached €857 million, a decrease from its peak of €918 million in January 2017. E-commerce accounted for 31 per cent of all new PoS transactions in March. Total credit card e-commerce has increased by 11 per cent over the past year to stand at €407 million at end-March.
  • New PoS spending per month was over three times greater for debit cards than for credit cards in March 2017. Credit card expenditure increased slightly during the year, from €836 million in March 2016 to €871 million in March 2017. PoS spending on debit cards increased by €331 million from the same month a year earlier, to stand at over €2.7 billion (Table 1). A significant proportion of debit card expenditure occurs in the retail sector, where transactions valued at €1.3 billion were recorded in March 2017. Groceries/Perishables continue to be the largest source of expenditure, with further growth of €49 million over the year. In the services sector, there has been a noticeable increase in expenditure on Professional Services over the past year.
  • Just over 71 per cent of all personal credit card expenditure in March 2017 was split between the retail (37%) and services (34%) sectors (Chart 3). In comparison, debit card expenditure in the retail and services sectors accounted for 48 per cent and 22 per cent of all new debit card PoS transactions, respectively.
  • Total debit card expenditure outside Ireland averaged €286 million in the first 3 months of 2017 (Chart 4). Credit or debit card expenditure outside Ireland (when the physical card is present) provides an indication of expenditure abroad by Irish tourists. Debit card expenditure abroad during Q1 2017 amounted to €858 million, an increase of 16 per cent on the Q1 2016 figure.  In contrast to this, credit card expenditure outside Ireland saw a 6 per cent decline in Q1 2017 compared with Q1 2016’s figure. The total value of debit card expenditure outside Ireland (including ATM transactions) is more than double the value of equivalent credit card expenditure.
  • Around €1.2 billion of outstanding credit card balances included an accrued interest component at end-March 2017. Chart 3 provides a breakdown of interest-bearing balances as a percentage of credit card limits. This shows that 8 per cent of cards have exceeded their credit limit, while 37 per cent had balances between 76 and 100 per cent of their credit limit. These proportions have remained unchanged over the past year.

Click here to view the charts and related data tables