New figures shows that contactless payments hit a record high in the third quarter of 2020 with more than 182 million payments valued at almost €2.9 billion recorded.

Banking and Payments Federation Ireland said the significant surge in contactless payments in recent months was mainly triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Today's figures show the number of contactless payments rose by 36% on a yearly basis in the third quarter with the value of those payments up by 77%. 

Consumers also made higher-value contactless payments than before with average contactless payment up from €12.03 in the third quarter of last year to €15.69 in the third quarter of this year.

The number of contactless-enabled cards is also on the rise with almost 5.1 million debit cards and almost 1.7 million credit cards in issue by the end of September, BPFI noted. 

While activity did see a slight dip during September, there were two million contactless payments a day during the month of September, unchanged from August.  €31.1m was spent every day, down from €31.9m a month earlier. 

Brian Hayes, chief executive of BPFI, said it had seen a significant acceleration in the use of contactless payments in year-on-year terms as consumer behaviour coupled with Covid-19 continue to reshape payment methods. 

"These figures clearly demonstrate the growing demand for contactless payments, allowing consumers to conduct fast, simple and secure transactions during the current pandemic," Mr Hayes said. 

"However, in light of the new Level 5 restrictions, we will undoubtedly see an impact on contactless transactions and consumer spending in general as we move forward," he added.