BoI to replace Laser card with Visa Debit

Fri, Oct 29, 2010, 01:00

BANK OF Ireland (BoI) will issue current account customers with Visa Debit cards from next year, marking the end of its 14-year involvement in the Laser card system. The bank is expected to announce the move today.

A spokesperson for the Laser scheme said the move would force the company to consider its future but the brand would remain in place for the time being.

There are almost three million Laser cards in circulation and the card type accounts for 17 million transactions per month. BoI has been a member of the scheme since its establishment in 1996.

The bank will begin sending replacement debit cards to customers in the third quarter of 2011.

Quentin Teggin, head of consumer segments at the bank, said the move will give its customers greater access to international and online purchases.

“This is certainly something that customers have been asking for, particularly for use online,” he said. “It will also make it easier for us to adopt new technologies coming down the line.”

Una Dylan, a spokeswoman for Laser, said the decision would mean the company would need to consider its future.

A number of other banks have already dropped Laser, with BoI’s move leaving AIB, National Irish Bank and EBS as the only Laser issuers.

“We are absolutely committed to working with Laser to ensure that there’s an orderly wind-down and anyone who has a Laser card will be fully supported,” Mr Teggin said.

According to Mr Teggin the change over to Visa Debit is already under way within the bank, with the back-end processing system currently being adapted. He added that a long testing phase will also be required to ensure the cards work seamlessly “the minute we put the plastic into customers’ hands”.

He continued: “It’s the simple things we have to be most careful of. We’ve seen in other countries that customers often return the debit cards because they thought it was an unsolicited credit card so we have to be sure they’re informed.”