Bank of Ireland announces a new era in payments for Irish consumers as ‘contactless’ becomes a reality and queues become history

Bank of Ireland announces that payments for retail purchases will soon be conducted in less than a second with the arrival of its new ‘contactless’ enabled Visa Debit card. With nearly 1m Visa Debit cards to issue to customers from late 2011, Bank of Ireland is the first bank in Ireland to introduce this new technology for its customers.  The new cards will allow customers to pay for purchases of €15 or under in less than a second by simply holding their payment card over a reader at a retail outlet.   The announcement heralds the prospect of shorter queues and faster transactions for consumers in comparison to cash and normal card transactions at a multitude of retailers.

Making the announcement, Quentin Teggin, Head of Consumer Segments Bank of Ireland, said:  “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.    Contactless technology is a key development in promoting electronic payment methods for low value transactions. The consumer and retailer appetite is evidenced by the fact that Visa Europe recently announced that Visa contactless card numbers in issue in the UK are predicted to increase from 13 to 20 million by the end of 2011.

While most payment value is through electronic payments, an estimated 70%+ of all 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. Irish consumers and businesses also remain one of the highest users of cheques – so the move to contactless is aligned to the Government’s National Payments Plan to reduce cash and paper based transactions and promote electronic transactions.”

Visa Europe has reported that weekly spending on contactless cards has doubled in the last six months, and is expected to more than double again by the year-end. Mr Teggin added: “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.”

Experience in other markets shows that contactless payments can actually be faster than cash, particularly where change would otherwise be required.  Customers also enjoy the added convenience, speed and ease of using “contactless” as a payment method.  Transactions take place in less than a second and each transaction is displayed on a customer’s bank statement allowing customers to track their spending.  As with all payment devices, contactless cards have a number of security features as well as the €15 payment limit on single transactions.

VP, Market Development, Contactless at Visa Europe, Lewis Nolan, commented: “This announcement from the Bank of Ireland signals a turning point for contactless payments as more European markets roll out contactless infrastructure than ever before. Contactless payments are easier, faster and more secure than other payment options and we believe them to be the future of electronic payments.


About Contactless

The card works using a secure radio signal (Near-Field Communications (NFC)) and is powered when it comes into close contact with the reader.

Using a contactless card to buy a coffee, newspaper or sandwich is really convenient saving the customer carrying loose change.

Customers can complete a transaction up to €15 using contactless as a payment method.

Each transaction is recorded on the customer’s account making it much easier to track how much you’re spending on a daily basis via your statement or current account, giving greater control over your money.

Contactless cards are subject to the same level of consumer protection as all Visa cards: If a consumer suspects that their card has been used fraudulently then they should contact their bank, requesting that they initiate the chargeback process.

To know whether the outlet offers contactless as a payment method check for the Contactless symbol.

As well as regular retail acceptance contactless is also particularly suitable for new sectors such as buses, trains and parking, vending machine.

Contactless cards have in-built security functionality e.g. once the card has been used a certain number of times (or over a certain value) customer is prompted to enter their PIN to complete a transaction.

Most major retailers across the globe are installing contactless readers that can accept payments and Visa Europe is currently in discussions in Ireland to bring Irish retailers on board to enable customers to take advantage of the benefits.  Visa Europe is advanced in its discussions with acquirers and merchants – at this point there are commitments to have contactless terminals in place in numerous locations throughout Ireland.

Estimated that 60,000+ shops across the UK already offer contactless readers.

Transport for London announced customers will be able to use their Visa contactless cards for pay as you go journeys on 8,500 London buses from Feb 2012. This will also be rolled out to pay as you go tube travel from 2012.

For Further information contact:

Mary Brennan

Group Communications

Bank of Ireland

Tel: 076 6234781 / 087 2833646