Four major banks in Belgium have joined forces to create an integrated network of neutral ATMs and have offered an open invitation to other lenders in the country to join them.
Belfius, BNP Paribas Fortis, ING, and KBC aim to use the initiative as a reaction to the changing payments landscape in Belgium and “significantly increase the opportunity to make cash deposits”.
According to figures from the Belgian financial federation Febelfin, 90% of people in the country prefer to pay electronically.
“Developments in the payments landscape are prompting banks to reconsider their proprietary ATM networks,” KBC writes in a release.
“At present, there is an oversupply of ATMs in certain locations (such as large towns, cities and shopping centres), whereas there are no or hardly any ATMs in other (often remote) locations.”
The new neutral network will involve a “more balanced” distribution of machines. The aim of the four banks is a future in which more than 95% of people in Belgium have access to an ATM no further than 5km away.
A phased roll-out will be implemented by the banks, with the first new ATMs appearing in mid-2021, while the group will be providing more information to interested parties and customers in the near future.
According to data from Statista, the number of ATMs in Belgium has fallen from a high of 16,000 in 2015 to less than 9,700.