Contactless Payments in Ireland

The Limit on Contactless Payments using cards has increased from €30 to €50.

This is because of the increased need for contactless payments to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. The roll out of the change to retail outlets was expected to be in place at most retailers by April 1st 2020 .

If you use phone payment apps such as Google Pay or Apple Pay – there are NO spending limits when using these for contactless payments.

Apple Pay provides a way of making contactless payments using your card with a smartphone. Read about Banks that have Apple Pay in Ireland

Google Pay on smartphones is also available with many debit/credit cards in Ireland for contactless payments . See Which Banks Use Google Pay in Ireland

Consumers in Ireland made almost 1.5 million contactless payments a day in the last 3 months of 2019, (figures from the Banking & Payments Federation)
The number of contactless credit and debit card payments grew by 44% in 2019 – with a total of nearly 135 million payments valued at more than €1.6 billion.

KBC, AIB, PTSB and Bank of Ireland have offered  Contactless Payments in Ireland with their Visa debit cards for around 5 years now.  Ulster Bank was a bit slower – but they also started offering contactless payments on debit cards in 2016.  EBS only started offering contactless debit cards in June 2019.
N26 is a new online bank – and their Mastercard also offers contactless payment.

Most of the major retailers in Ireland now accept contactless payments

Contactless payment means you can pay for small purchases (€50 and under) in most retailers by holding your debit or credit card beside a keypad without having to enter your PIN.

For added security, you will be asked to enter your PIN after a certain number of uses.  There is a maximum value for these card transactions, it started off at just €15. but the limit was raised to €30 from October 31st 2015 and is €50 from April 1st 2020

For amounts over this, you will always have to enter your PIN.


Using contactless payment does have the advantage of paying without worrying about someone else seeing you key in your pin.
It is also safer in terms of viruses on cash and payment machines.

The payment chip in the cards monitors all contactless payments made and if it detects several consecutive payments, it will ask the user to make a chip and PIN payment, to confirm it is still in the hands of the legitimate owner. Together with the €30 limit, this restricts the potential losses as a result of fraud (for which the cardholder would not be liable).


Currently, bank charges for using contactless payments are mostly zero. See more figures on Bank Charges in Ireland.

Bank of Ireland and Ulster do charge – but only 1c per transaction. Bank of Ireland are suspending their contactless charge during the coronavirus emergency . The other banks don’t currently apply a charge.
AIB was going to start charging 1c  in May 2020  – but they are delaying this in light of the current coronavirus problems.

Outside Ireland

You can also use a contactless card to make payments outside Ireland.  One place where they are really handy is on the London underground and other public transport in London. All London buses and tubes accept contactless cards – you just swipe them at the ticket barriers (in and out) and the relevant charge is debited from your account in one transaction at the end of the day.    (You will also  incur the usual debit card charges for non Euro transactions.)

More Tips For Visiting London here

6 thoughts on “Contactless Payments in Ireland

  1. It will probably become more widespread as time goes on.
    All AIB and BOI Visa Debit cards should have the facility in 2013. It just needs more retailers to take it up to get consumers to use it.

  2. The limit should be increased to €100.
    Propose €50 has been set based on current average amount of €41 euro , however because the frequency of going to shops will greatly reduced the average value of purchase will exceed €50.
    A more appropriate limit should be €100

  3. Hi can contact less be use twice in one day Say 49e in dunnes and 50e in tescos
    or is the spend limited to 50e max per day



    • It’s €50 per transaction not €50 per day. Sometimes you may be asked for PIN if the bank systems want to make sure your card hasn’t been stolen if it gets used several times in a day.

  4. IV closed my bank account due to it and my PayPal being hacked. Is their a card system I can use without the bank?

    • How would you load money on to the card if you don’t have a bank account. Cash ??

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