Finance and Payments

Payments overview

In common with the UK, including Northern Ireland, the use of payment cards dominates digital transactions in the Republic. Visa-branded payment cards (credit and debit) are the most commonly-used while PayPal is increasing rapidly in popularity.

Table 3: Preferred online payment methods in Ireland in 2015 by percentage of respondents. Source: Statista 2015

Any merchant looking to trade into Ireland, both Republic and NI, would be well advised to focus on accepting card payments and PayPal as a secondary option. There is no doubt that alternatives such as mobile-enabled payments and a variety of wallets will make in-roads into the volume of card transactions but for now cards are king.

Sales tax (VAT) and duties

The majority of consumer products fall into the VAT rate of 23%. Books, Children’s clothing and educational products are zero rated at 0%.

Non-established suppliers supplying taxable goods or services in the State are generally obliged to register and account for Irish VAT. The turnover thresholds for VAT registration which apply to Irish suppliers do not apply and non established suppliers must register for Irish VAT regardless of the level of their turnover.

Where the value of distance sales to the State (Ireland) by a supplier in another EU Member State exceeds €35,000 in a calendar year that supplier must register for VAT in the State

and must account for VAT at the appropriate Irish rates. If the threshold is not exceeded, the supplier may opt to register and account for VAT in the State on his or her distance sales. Non-established suppliers making distance sales of excisable goods (spirits, tobacco etc.) to the State are obliged to register for VAT in the State irrespective of the level of turnover. (source:

VAT and Duties is a complex area and merchants are advised to seek professional advice on this area and can gain more information from the Irish Tax and Customs Service at


According to the latest data available from the European Central Bank, Card Not Present (CNP) fraud, which includes online card fraud, was worth 68% of all fraud losses in the Republic during 2013.

Table 4: Card fraud levels by channel and indicating Ireland’s position compared to other key EU markets Source: European Central Bank Card Fraud Report 2013

The same report also showed that the Republic suffered from some of the highest CNP fraud levels in the EU but, amongst its peer group, had the lowest levels of growth. By comparison however, as a proportion of transactions, overall fraud grew at an alarming 23%; probably as a result of the rapid increase seen in overall payments being processed. On the CNP front, the UK and Irish markets have been pushing counter-fraud tools such as 3D Secure and this has probably had an impact on the growth of CNP fraud. This data doesn’t show that the biggest growth areas for CNP fraud have actually been Mail Or Telephone Order (MOTO).

Payment Card Industry Data Security Scheme (PCIDSS) also places emphasis and responsibilities onto organisations that hold and process payment card data. This is an evolving and international standard that the card schemes and acquiring banks will enforce to ensure that payment data is protected as much as practically possible.

Another element helping to combat fraud in the Republic has been the introduction of postal codes and a wider awareness amongst both businesses and consumers.

Businesses trading into the Republic should ensure they have suitable counter-fraud tools in place and look to their payment service provider for advice on setting rules and managing the risk.





Online and mobile usage

Online shopping behaviour


Trust and dispute resolution

Legal framework and regulation

Logistics and delivery