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Laser admits trouble ahead as EBS latest lender to ditch card

THE future of the Laser debit card has been put in doubt after another financial institution dropped it yesterday.

EBS said it would issue MasterCard debit cards instead of Laser from the second half of this year.

Debit cards work like an electronic cheques allowing people to spend only what they have in their current account.

Already Ulster Bank, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB have dropped the Laser card in favour of Visa debit cards.

Bank of Ireland is to replace its one million Laser cards with Visa debit cards from the end of this year.

There are three million debit cards in the State.


Many of these will be replaced by MasterCard and Visa cards in the next while leaving AIB as the last significant member of Laser Card Services, a not-for-profit body owned by the banks.

It is understood AIB has around 1.4 million Laser cards that have been issued to personal customers.

General manager of Laser Card Services Una Dillion yesterday insisted it was business as usual for the company but she admitted that if AIB pulls out the company would be in trouble.

"All banks are considering their debit card strategy.

"If AIB decided to pull out the company would be in jeopardy," Ms Dillon said.

Banks have been turning away from Laser because of some difficutlies encountered by consumers in making online purchases.

Ms Dillion said global payments companies like Visa were able to invest more in online security.

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