Wednesday 21 March 2018

Consumer watchdog hails BoI switch to debit card

Aideen Sheehan

THE Consumers Association has welcomed Bank of Ireland's decision to switch one million customers from laser to Visa Debit cards, saying it will now be easier to make online purchases.

However, it warned that the bank must not charge customers any more for the new service and must ensure that they can use the cashback facility on their new debit cards.

Bank of Ireland said it would begin issuing the new Visa Debit cards to all their personal customers in the second half of next year to replace laser cards. It added that there would not be an extra charge.

The new cards will work in the same way as existing cards at ATMs and for direct purchases in stores. But BoI said that it would give customers better online purchasing access and the facility to make more payments and withdraw cash at more locations across the world.

"Visa Debit will allow our customers to complete more transactions electronically given its global acceptance across more than 200 countries," said Quentin Teggin, BoI head of consumer segments.

Customers will also get enhanced purchase protection -- effectively, that means refunds if goods don't arrive or work -- and they will also be able to use the 'verified by Visa' security system, which reduces exposure to online fraud.

BoI said that Irish consumers were still the biggest users of cash in Europe, but this would help move people move towards cashless transactions, which they estimated would increase by at least 20pc in the first year.

It said some customers might decide to get rid of their credit cards entirely to save on the €30 government stamp duty fee, which compares with just €5 stamp duty on debit cards. It would also help reduce the €16.7m fraud on Irish cards each year.

The Consumers Association of Ireland chairman James Doorley said the switch was "a welcome development as long as there are no additional charges applied to customers as a result".

Irish Independent

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