There was a 43pc rise in the number of Visa cards in Ireland since 2011 to reach 4.9 million for the year ending 30 September 2012 with annual expenditure reaching €15.5bn, an increase of 17pc.
This means €1 in every €7 of consumer spending in Ireland is now on a Visa card — either debit, credit or prepaid cards.
There was a 26pc increase in the number of transactions during the course of 2012, with 201 million transactions taking place during the 12 month period.
Visa Europe said growth in Ireland was driven from consumers becoming more comfortable paying with Visa cards particularly for lower-value everyday purchases as well as the continued roll-out of Visa Debit cards to Irish consumers.
Marks & Spencer is the latest major retailer to offer contactless payments to consumers and is rolling out the technology in its stores.
Bank of Ireland and AIB both offer Visa Debit contactless cards, which allow customers the opportunity to pay for transactions of €15 or less by simply touching their Visa card to the contactless terminal without the need to enter their personal identification number.
Retailers who already offer contactless payments in Ireland include McDonalds, Insomnia, Arnotts, Boots, Centra, Spar, Eurospar and Mace.
Total spend by Visa cardholders grew by 8pc to €1.3 trillion in the period underpinned by a 16pc growth in e-commerce, the fastest growing part of the Visa Europe business. Online spending on Visa cards in Europe stood at €202bn.