Card spending continues to grow as the government continues to push back the use of cash

Consumers continue to increase spending with cards, suggesting the shift away from cash will continue beyond the pandemic.

According to new data from the central bank, hoppers spent 9 percent or 660 million euros more on credit and debit cards in October than a year ago.

Total card spending, including ATM withdrawals, reached €7.9 billion this month, with almost all of this coming from point-of-sale transactions.

ATM withdrawals fell 5 percent annually to just over €1 billion, while in-store purchases rose 12 percent to €6.9 billion.

Though card spending fell 3 percent month-on-month in October, it was due to seasonal factors as spending on education was halved.

The new figures come just a day after the Treasury Department promised legislation guaranteeing “reasonable access to cash” that could force shops to accept paper money and coins.

The department’s Retail Banking Review also recommended that banks must maintain access to cash services at 2022 levels under a new regulatory framework to be developed next year.

The overall framework and payments strategy is understood to include the development of a protocol, in consultation with stakeholders, on how banks can make changes to payments infrastructure or close branches.

According to the review, this will help the sector to deal with the decline in cash consumption in an orderly manner.

“It is important that future changes in cash infrastructure do not exceed society’s expectations or needs,” it said.

Separately, the level of net lending to firms in October was the highest since 2009 as firms continued their post-Covid borrowing trend.

Net lending to non-financial corporations was positive in October, with outstandings exceeding repayments by €2.6 billion annually.

The majority had maturities of less than a year, a trend that dates back to April when government Covid subsidies were withdrawn.

About three-quarters of the net increase in corporate lending comes from short-term borrowing, indicating that credit cards and bank overdrafts account for most of it.

Household deposits hit a record 149 billion euros after growing by the largest amount in 15 months in October. Card spending continues to grow as the government continues to push back the use of cash

Fry Electronics Team

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