According to data from the Icelandic Centre for Retail Studies, payment card turnover within Iceland totalled ISK 108bn in March, an increase of 21% YoY, or 11% in price-adjusted terms. Growth has eased relative to previous months, but it picked up again strongly in January and February. The main reason for the surge is the retroactive pay rises received by most workers in connection with new wage agreements finalised at the beginning of the year.
Turnover with domestic payment cards totalled just over ISK 86bn, an increase of 5% in real terms, while turnover with foreign cards came to just over ISK 22bn, an increase of 45% in real terms. This major increase in foreign card use in Iceland is due primarily to [base effects from] the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, both of which cut back on foreign tourists’ visits to Iceland. Foreign payment cards account for about 20% of total turnover, and Icelandic cards represent the other 80%.