THE Laser card payment system will be shut down this Friday night.
Consumers will be forced to say goodbye to the cards after a decision was made to end the payment system – now that the banks have moved over to new Visa and MasterCard debit cards.
Laser cards have been in use in this country for almost two decades.
Using Laser, as with Visa and MasterCard debit cards, you can only spend money if you have funds in your bank account.
The Irish Payment Services Organisation (IPSO) said all Laser cards have now been replaced, and the operation of Laser-card transactions will cease at midnight on Friday.
"After that time, retailers that attempt to present a charge to a Laser card will receive an error message only," the payments organisation said.
The Laser-cards system was always peculiar to Ireland. This meant that the card was sometimes not accepted when consumers wanted to use an internet site from outside of Ireland.
Visa or MasterCard debit card work just the same as a Laser card – you can only spend what you have in your bank account – except that the Visa or MasterCard branding means it is accepted worldwide.
Retailers were warned by IPSO to make arrangements with their customers for an alternative payment method if a customer is still using Laser after Friday at midnight.
"Retail owners and managers will need to alert staff members that Laser cards cannot be accepted in stores or businesses as and from midnight this Friday," an IPSO spokeswoman said.
The very first Laser transaction occurred 18 years ago in 1996. Laser reached its highest number in 2011 when there were more than three million active Laser debit cards in the market.
The highest value spent on goods and services on Laser was €11bn in 2010.