ATM cash withdrawals down 3bn euro
The amount of cash withdrawn from hole in the wall machines last year fell by 3 billion euro, it has been revealed.
The Irish Payment Services Organisation (Ipso) said 22.3 billion euro was taken from ATMs last year with Ireland still one of the biggest users of cash in the EU.
In its latest survey of payment methods, the group found consumers changing habits by switching to debit cards from cash and making more low-cost, convenient electronic payments through online banking channels.
Ipso chief executive Pat McLoughlin said the survey marks a new era in consumer habits.
"The fact that there is a clear trend towards greater usage of debit cards is a sign that Ireland is embracing a new era in consumer transactions and it will come as a boost to retailers and businesses across the country as the speed and efficiency of payments improves," he said.
"It is essential that Irish consumers continue to take the lead from their European counterparts in switching to more efficient payment methods as this will positively impact on Ireland's economic competitiveness."
Despite the changing trends, consumers in Ireland are more likely to use ATMs than in any other EU country. Ipso said bank and building society customers made an average of 40 withdrawals in 2010, totalling almost 5,000 euro per person.
Ipso said the total spend on electronic payments using cards in Ireland last year was 22.8 billion euro - for the first time exceeding the value of ATM withdrawals. In Ireland the value of non-cash transactions is 36% of the total compared to 96% for an EU average.
Ipso also noted that more than 2.8 million customers are now registered for online banking in Ireland.
Mr McLoughlin said Government figures estimate that savings of 1 billion euro could be made for the Irish economy if all bills were paid electronically.