A pilot project to help make Cork a cash-free city has been hailed a success after new figures showed it encouraged more people to switch from cash to cards.
The use of cash-free payment options in Cork outstripped the national average between November and January.
The use of contactless payment options, and the overall value of those transactions, also surged way ahead of the national average in the same period.
The increases were credited last night to the Cork Cashes Out scheme, launched last November.
It has now been shortlisted for a prestigious international award run in association with Visa, in a category alongside wireless public transport payment projects in England and in the Czech Republic, and a mobile payment scheme in India.
The Cork Cashes Out campaign set out to promote and encourage cash-free payment options such as chip and PIN, contactless, and other electronic payment options.
An industry analysis of consumer e-payment options over that period, and released yesterday, shows that the number of contactless payments increased by 176% more in Cork City than in the rest of the country.
The value of contactless payments in the city rose by 157% more than the national average.
The city also recorded 2% more card transactions that the national average and there was a 17% year-on-year increase in the volume of card transactions in the city, compared to 15% across the country.
The value of these card transactions in Cork was also up against the national average.
The Cork Cashes Out initiative was led by the Cork City Centre Forum, a group of stakeholders including Cork Chamber of Commerce, Cork Business Association, Cork City Council, An Garda Síochána, and local business people, and was backed by the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland.
Campaign spokesman and publican Paul Montgomery said while they expected an uplift in the use of cash-free payment options in the run-up to Christmas, they were “blown away” by the success of the campaign.
“Cork has seen an increase in the number of people using cash-free payment options compared to the rest of the country and this is set to continue,” he said.
“But the real success story is the use of contactless payments in Cork. The number of contactless payments here far exceeded the rest of the country, which shows just how open people are to adopting new technologies when they see the benefits.”