More than every third AIB branch becomes cashless

The state-owned majority-owned AIB will go cashless in 70 of its 170 bank branches to raise important social inclusion and safety issues. This includes removing ATMs from branches.

The move means cash services will be withdrawn from towns such as Dingle, Abbeyfeale, Birr, Cahir, Gort and Youghal and Wicklow Town as early as September.

AIB said it is making the change as part of a €40 million investment program and deepening the relationship with An Post.

AIB’s branch network is the largest of any bank and aims to ensure that a branch will remain in 95 per cent of the locations that Ulster Bank and KBC leave.

However, the dramatic withdrawal of cash services is likely to raise significant concerns. Despite a switch to cashless payments by consumers and businesses, the central bank says cash remains important for both economic functions and social inclusion.

“Cash provides payment and savings options for people with limited or no access to digital money, making it crucial for the inclusion of vulnerable citizens such as the elderly or low-income groups,” the central bank said.

Consumers’ group leader Michael Kilcoyne said he feared the downgrade of the 70 stores would eventually shut them down.

“This move to stop accepting cash and checks at 70 branches is the first step towards closing those branches.

“If you continue to reduce the services offered by branches, it becomes more economical to close them,” Mr Kilcoyne said.

Banking cash handling is also important for small and medium-sized businesses, especially cash-intensive ones that rely on bank cash deposits for security.

AIB, led by CEO Colin Hunt, says it is to repurpose the 70 affected branches to improve account opening opportunities for new customers, while withdrawing cash and check services at those branches due to falling demand.

“With digital adoption soaring, the cost of providing cash services has become increasingly unsustainable. As a result, cash, ATM and check services will be removed from these branches, but customers will continue to have efficient access to cash in their communities,” AIB said.

AIB customers can use cash and check services at 920 post offices. More than every third AIB branch becomes cashless

Fry Electronics Team

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