Irish survey finds 1-in-3 don’t know about contactless payments

18 Jul 2016

When it comes to contactless payments in Ireland, it seems that many of us have no understanding of how it actually works, at least according to a new survey.

Stores in Ireland that accept contactless payments using credit or debit cards have become commonplace in the past three years prophesising a future cashless society, at least when it comes to day-to-day shopping.

However, while the major banks have adapted to change with their own credit and debit cards, many of us with smartphones are still waiting for the arrival of mobile payment services like Apple Pay and Android Pay.

No idea what contactless symbol means

Now, giving us a snapshot of where Irish people stand in terms of contactless payments, an Amárach survey of 1,000 people taken on behalf of the BOI Payment Acceptance (BOIPA) group has shown that, in fact, many of us know next to nothing about how they work.

One of the results highlighted by the survey found that one-in-three of those asked were unaware of what the designated contactless symbol on cards actually meant.

Of those people who said they had never used a contactless payment, 38pc claimed that their cards did not have contactless capabilities, while 28pc said they simply never think to use it.

Similar confusion reigned when it came to what the limit is for individual payments using contactless payments.

Having increased the individual contactless payment limit to €30 last year, nearly half (42pc) said that this limit should be increased, while 45pc admitted to having no idea what the limit was.

Consumer awareness is lacking

While contactless payments users spend, on average, €11.33 with each payment, payments using debit cards (88pc) were found to be twice as common as credit cards (43pc).

As for what we’re all spending contactless payments on, food and groceries was found to be the likeliest reason at 75pc, followed by fuel (23pc) and alcohol (21pc).

In trying to offer an explanation as to why there was a higher-than-expected number of people unaware of contactless payments, Brian Cleary, general manager of BOIPA, said: “Despite almost 40pc of those surveyed claiming not to carry a contactless card, in reality, approximately 90pc of all debit cards in Ireland are now contactless. This suggests one of the key steps in growing contactless payments is to raise consumer awareness of the technology and its benefits.”

Contactless payments symbol image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic