Bank of Ireland has become the first bank in the Emerald Isle to introduce contactless technology as it looks to wrestle paper-based payment methods out of the hands of consumers.
The bank will issue one million contactless-enabled Visa debit cards from late 2011, allowing consumers to pay for purchases of up to €15 ($21.38) by waving their card next to a contactless reader.
The move to contactless is aligned to the Irish government’s National Payments Plan to reduce cash and paper-based transactions and promote e-payments. An estimated 70% of all Irish payments are still made using cash. Ireland has the highest per capita usage of ATMs in Europe and in 2010 consumers withdrew in the region of €5,000 per capita from ATMs.
“This new technology has been firmly embraced in Europe with over 20m cards in circulation and we are delighted to be the first in Ireland to issue Visa Debit cards with contactless payment capability,” said Quentin Teggin, head of consumer segments at the Bank of Ireland.
“Contactless technology is a key development in promoting electronic payment methods for low value transactions. From the end of this year counting coins to pay for items such as fast-food, newspapers or coffee will be history for Bank of Ireland’s customers who choose to embrace this new technology.”
The consumer and retailer appetite for contactless is seemingly evidenced by the fact that Visa Europe recently announced Visa contactless card numbers in issue in the UK are predicted to increase from 13 to 20m by the end of 2011. Furthermore, Visa Europe has reported weekly spending on contactless cards has doubled in the last 6 months. This is expected to more than double again by the year-end.