New figures released by Visa show a 17% rise in spending on its various cards by Irish consumers in the past year to reach a record €15.5 billion.

The company has reported a 43% increase in debit, credit and prepaid cards to 4.9 million and a 26% increase in the number of transactions to more than 200 million deals.

It noted that €1 in every €7 of consumer spending in Ireland is now on a Visa card.

Vis said that its growth in Ireland was driven by consumers becoming more comfortable paying with its cards, especially for lower-value everyday purchases as well as the rollout of Visa Debit cards to Irish consumers.

Both Bank of Ireland and AIB offer Vida Debit contactless cards, which allow customers the opportunity to pay for transactions of 15 or less by simply touching their Visa card to the contactless terminal without the need to enter their PIN. Retailers who offer this service include Marks & Spencer, McDonalds, Insomnia, Arnotts, Boots, Centra, Spar and Mace.

In Europe, total spend by Visa cardholders grew by 8% to €1.3 trillion - despite the challenging economic times. The company said that this growth was underpinned by a 16% growth in e-commerce, the fastest growing part of the Visa Europe business.

Online spending on Visa cards in Europe came to €202 billion for the first time and accounts for more than 20% of Visa Europe's business.