BoI confirms Laser card switch


Bank of Ireland (BoI) has confirmed it is to issue current account customers with Visa Debit cards in place of Laser cards from next year, as announced in the Irish Times today.

The bank said it is to begin sending one million replacement debit cards to customers during the second half of 2011.

BoI said the new Visa debit card will give extensive online purchasing access and the facility to make payments and withdraw cash across the world.

The new Visa Debit card will also enable Bank of Ireland to provide access to ‘Verified by Visa’, an additional security mechanism that reduces exposure to online fraud.

"Visa Debit will allow our customers to complete more transactions electronically given its global acceptance across more than 200 countries, said Quentin Teggin, head of Consumer Segments at Bank of Ireland.

Ireland has the highest per capita usage of ATMs in Europe with the average ATM cash withdrawal amounting to €5,644 per person per annum. Last year, there were over 186m ATM withdrawals in Ireland, valued at €25.4bn.

"We estimate that debit transactions will increase by a minimum of 20 per cent in the year following the introduction of the new card, said Mr Teggan.

He said that BoI was "absolutely committed" to working with Laser to ensure that there’s an orderly wind-down and that anyone who has a Laser card will be fully supported.

At present 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.

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.