Bank of Ireland keeps cash services alive with €60m ATM investment

Bank of Ireland keeps cash services alive with €60m ATM investment

Despite a huge increase in contactless and online transactions over recent years, cash still remains a popular payment method and this has been recognised by the Bank of Ireland.

The Irish commercial bank announced this week that it would invest €60m to improve the country’s ATM network, marking the largest investment in Ireland’s cash machine infrastructure in the last decade.

This will include the rollout of a ‘state-of-the-art’ fleet of ATMs throughout all Bank of Ireland branches in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland by 2027, making the plan a island-wide and cross-border initiative.

Susan Russell, CEO, Bank of Ireland Retail Ireland, said: “Like any other company, being profitable allows us to improve our business. Given the large number of customers which we serve, major re-investment is required every year. 

“I’m really happy that this latest investment will see all customers across all counties benefit with the most modern and efficient ATMs, whilst also supporting our ESG ambitions through energy reduction.”

A total of 664 ATMs will be set up throughout Ireland as a result of the initiative. The Bank believes that this will see greater cash processing capacity and cut energy use by half, with the machines ‘recycling’ cash by using deposited notes for withdrawals, maximising ATM availability.

The €60m figure will also cover servicing and maintenance over a five year period, as well as refurbishment in customer areas across 18 branches and employee facilities in 15 branches in 2024, with further refurbishment plans for 2025. 

ATMs remain the dominant form of cash withdrawal in Ireland, as in other countries. According to the Republic’s Department of Finance, 78% of cash consumers use ATMs, followed by cash-back in retailers (18%), bank branches (17%) and by post (9%).

Despite the increasing digitisation of payments, cash usage in Ireland may be being spurred on by living costs, a trend which has been observed in other Western European countries such as the UK.

For example, the Nationwide Banking Society revealed last month that 3.14 million cash withdrawals were made from its network of 1,200 ATMs in 2023, 4% more than the year prior, with an average withdrawal of around £105. The bank partially attributed this to more consumers using cash as a means to budget easier.

Russell continued: “We are always investing to ensure customers have access to cash and other banking services in a modern and comfortable environment. Each year we refurbish many of our branches and that’s a constant, rolling project of enhancements.

“As a full service retail bank, with a presence in communities throughout the island of Ireland, we are committed to continually improving our services and the financial wellbeing of customers.

“This means re-investing purposefully in branches, contact centres, technology, ATMs and other infrastructure to ensure our customers have the most modern and efficient banking available.”