herald

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Now cashless bank NIB stubs out cheques

IRELAND'S first cashless bank -- a victim of Tiger kidnappers in the past -- is now refusing to accept cheques.

Danish-owned National Irish Bank stopped taking cash from customers at the start of 2010, citing security concerns and the cost of handling cash.

Now it has written to thousands of customers telling them that from April, it will not allow them to lodge cheques at their 28 branches nationwide.

The bank offers its customers cheque books, but soon won't accept its own cheques for lodgment.

When it introduced the cash ban, NIB told customers to use one of the larger An Post offices to lodge and withdraw cash from their accounts.

Now they are being told to go to post offices if they want to lodge a cheque into an NIB branch. NIB has been a strong supporter of Government efforts to cut the high use of cash and cheques in the State.

Handling cash and cheques is more expensive than non-cash alternatives such as internet banking or debit or credit cards.

Asked how a customer who needed €5,000 in cash could get it, a bank spokesman said that a branch could issue a bank draft if the money was needed urgently. This could then be cashed at a post office.

Alternatively, a customer who needed a large amount of cash could get the limit on their ATM card increased from the daily maximum of €450 to €5,000 by the bank. Customers were free to use electronic banking or mobile phone banking to transfer money, the bank added.

NIB insisted the ban on cheque lodgments would benefit customers as branch staff would have time to "focus on sales and advisory services".







Guarantee

Cheques are due to be phased out and from this year the cheque guarantee cards, which were incorporated into Laser cards, will no longer operate.

People will still be able to issue and accept cheques this year, but they will no longer be able to guarantee their cheques by using a Laser/Maestro card.

The guarantee scheme is where Laser or Maestro cards double up as a guarantee up to a certain value. Usually the guarantee covers up to €100.

A letter from the bank told customers: "We have now decided to only offer cheque lodgement services through An Post."

mlavery@herald.ie

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