Around 4.5 million cheque payments were made in the first quarter of 2022, according to the latest Payments Monitor from Banking & Payments Federation Ireland.
While the figures is a new quarterly low for cheque volumes, it appears high in the age of digital banking.
Gillian Byrne, Head of Payments, BPFI agrees that, “4.5 million is a massive number, but if you look at where we came from, this figure was nearly 9 million in 2018. The volumes have halved in a short period of time.”
She said cheques are used in business transactions, such as trading, insurance, agri and by some of the larger SMEs, “but less and less by consumers”.
Ms Byrne said she sees this downward trend continuing because businesses are moving to more convenient digital payment methods, “but I think this will happen slowly, and I think they will eventually be at negligible volumes”.
Online and mobile banking continued to grow strongly in the first quarter of the year. The report also shows contactless payments continued to surge with 2.5 million contactless payments made per day in January, February and March.
As consumers continued to reduce their reliance on cash and cheques, online and mobile banking payment volumes grew by 13.2% year on year to 34.3 million payments in Q1 2022.
This was the second highest level recorded since BPFI began collecting this data in 2016, after Q4 2021.
“In fact, digital banking now looks set to overtake direct debits during 2022, even though direct debit volumes increased by 4.4% year on year to 35.5 million,” Ms Byrne said.
The Monitor, which also captures contactless data, shows quarterly contactless payment volumes rose by 53.6% year on year to 228.4 million or 2.5 million payments per day in Q1 2022.
The value of contactless payments rose by 59% to more than €3.7 billion or €41.6 million per day. This was the second highest daily contactless spend in any quarter, after Q4 2021 (€46.5 million).
The average contactless payment value increased to €16.20, from €15.72 a year earlier and was the second highest quarterly average after Q4 2021. With 84.8 million transactions, valued at almost €1.4 billion, March 2022 was the second highest level of monthly contactless payments after December 2021.