Bank of Ireland announces new debit card for one million personal customers offering worldwide access to cash and payments

Bank of Ireland is to provide one million personal banking customers with a new Visa debit card that will give extensive online purchasing access and the facility to make payments and withdraw cash across the world. Changing from Laser to Visa Debit offers a compelling package of services to Bank of Ireland customers who will benefit from enhanced purchase protection against failure or non-delivery of goods. 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.

The move reflects the phenomenal growth in electronic transactions and a European-wide imperative to reduce an Irish consumer reliance on paper-based and cash transactions. Ireland has the highest per capita usage of ATMs in Europe and remains one of the highest users of cheques.

Commenting on the announcement, Quentin Teggin, Head of Consumer Segments at Bank of Ireland said: “Our customers like using debit cards to make payments and there has been a 60% increase in this transaction type since 2006. Visa Debit will allow our customers to complete more transactions electronically given its global acceptance across more than 200 countries. Irish consumers are still the biggest users of cash in Europe so this will also significantly contribute to the Government’s aim of reducing the reliance on paper-based payments systems in favour of electronic money. We estimate that debit transactions will increase by a minimum of 20% in the year following the introduction of the new card.

This strategic decision by Bank of Ireland enhances the functionality of our payment systems and will empower both the development of new technologies and innovation such as contactless payments alongside real consumer benefits for Irish consumers.”

In Europe, €1 in every €9 is spent using a Visa card, and more than 70% of that is on Visa debit cards. In total, there are over 400 million Visa cards in circulation in Europe. In the 12 months ending June 2010 those cards were used to make purchases and cash withdrawals to the value of €1.4 trillion.

Bank of Ireland will commence issuing the new Visa Debit card to customers in the second half of 2011.

Some facts you might like to know:

  • First ATM card in Ireland launched in 1978 – the same year the world’s first debit card was launched by Seattle’s First National Bank.
  • Ireland’s first debit payment conducted in 1996, but 60% of all payments in Ireland today are still made using cash.
  • Ireland has the highest per capita usage of ATMs in Europe – the average ATM cash withdrawal is €5,644 per person per annum.
  • 186m ATM withdrawals in Ireland in 2009, valued at €25.4bn.
  • Close to 3m Laser cards are in use in Ireland and 195m transactions worth over €11bn were conducted in 2009.
  • The average value of a Laser card transaction is €57, down from €63 in 2008.
  • In 2009 Irish consumers wrote 102m cheques and other paper based debits vs. 146m electronic credits and 127m electronic debits.
  • Ireland is one of only four countries (UK, France and Portugal) with heavy cheque usage.
  • 27% of all utility bills are still paid in cash.
  • Most popular destinations for overseas transactions are UK, Spain and France.
  • 2.5m Irish consumers registered for online banking and accounts were accessed online 142.3m times in the 12 months ended June 2010.
  • 3m internet users in Ireland – 66% of the population; a rise from only 20% in 2000.
  • 36.1m payments through online banking in the year ended June 2010, up 10% on previous year.
  • The most popular purchases online are books and music, clothing and footwear, travel, auction items, hotel and overnight accommodation, entertainment and downloads of music, movies and games.
  • 1.44m broadband subscribers in Ireland – highest growth in mobile users.
  • The average internet user was online for 13.2 hours a week in 2009. There is highest usage among 25-34 year-olds, students and those based in Dublin.