Bank of Ireland launches Ireland’s first bio-sourced Visa Debit Card

Bank of Ireland ambassadors, Doireann Garrihy and Greg O’Shea were on hand to launch Bank of Ireland’s brand new bio-sourced Visa Debit Card. The new card is composed of 82% bio-sourced renewable materials made from field corn and is the first of its kind in Ireland.

The design is also the first in a series of new look and feel cards from the Bank following the brand update earlier in the year. The card will be available to all third-level students from today. For more information on the new card, please go to

Research shows a rise in sustainable purchases amongst younger shoppers over the past 12 months

Key Research Findings:

  • 63% more aware of shopping sustainably in the last 12 months
  • Those aged 18-25 are the most sustainably focussed
  • Over half (54%) are happy to pay more for sustainable goods
  • Since COVID-19, 61% are supporting more local businesses, over half (52%) are buying less clothes

Bank of Ireland research has revealed that almost two thirds (63%) of people in Ireland aged 18-25 have become more aware of shopping sustainably over the last year, with over half (54%) now willing to pay more for sustainable goods.

The recent survey of 1,000 shoppers by Red C which examines the nation’s sustainable shopping habits was carried out to launch Bank of Ireland’s new bio-sourced Visa Debit Card, the first of its kind in Ireland.

Available to third-level students from today, the new bio-sourced card is made from 82% bio-sourced renewable materials derived from field corn. When its lifespan is over, it takes just six months to break down unlike its plastic equivalent (PVC cards) which take around 400 years to decompose.

The card also features a new look and feel design in line with the update to the Bank of Ireland brand which took place earlier in the year. Other notable features include:

  • All customer card details have moved from the front of the card to the back, helping keep customer details out of sight when using ATM or merchant services.
  • Card numbers have been flat printed instead of the traditional embossed print, making the card more durable and decreasing the need for replacement.
  • Inclusion of a blind notch on the bottom right of the card helps guide people on the direction should they require assistance.

According to the Bank of Ireland research, younger shoppers are the most sustainably minded with 71% of those aged 18-25 noting they have made an effort to shop in this way over the last year. This cohort is also willing to pay more of a premium for sustainable goods compared to the national average, with 69% willing to spend extra compared to the national average of 54%.

When shopping sustainably, two-thirds say that environmentally friendly packaging is the number one thing they look out for when making a purchase. 56% say a product which is locally sourced or Fairtrade certified and has traceable origins is a key part of the decision process, while 45% say ensuring the product is cruelty-free is important to them.

The changing face of shopping since COVID-19

The current COVID-19 pandemic has also played a role in changing how we shop and what we are purchasing leading to a greater emphasis on shopping local, being more sustainable and supporting Irish businesses. 61% of respondents say that they have made an effort to shop closer to home since March and 30% say they have been actively buying more sustainably sourced items.

Reflecting the decline in socialising, over half (52%) say they have bought less clothing over the last six months and 30% say they are spending less on beauty and personal care products. In line with the shift towards becoming more mindful shoppers, over a third (38%) say they are purchasing more quality items over quantity since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Commenting on the launch of the new bio-sourced card Gavin Kelly, CEO Retail, Ireland, Bank of Ireland said: “As part of our ongoing commitment to responsible and sustainable business, we are delighted to introduce the brand-new Bank of Ireland bio-sourced Visa Debit Card to the Irish market, which is the first of this kind in Ireland.

Both sustainability and climate change are consistently cited as one the biggest issues facing society and generations to come. Our student customers have been a leading voice for change and teaching older generations to become more socially conscious and environmentally friendly in our daily lives.

We want to put sustainability in the hands of all our customers and give them the opportunity to go greener in their daily lives. While the card is available from today to third level customers, our ambition is to roll the initiative out to all Bank of Ireland customers as we replace and update our cards over the next 18 months.”

The new Bank of Ireland bio-sourced card will be available to all third-level students from today. For more information, please go to