The once ubiquitous Laser card, launched by Irish banks in 1996 as part of an initiative to replace cheques, could become redundant as early as next year following a decision by Bank of Ireland to switch its customers to Visa, The Sunday Times reports.

Ulster Bank and Permanent TSB have already moved to Visa Debit, leaving AIB and NIB as the last two Laser members. Considerable investment is required to keep up with new technologies in the debit card sector.

“Laser has been an efficient operation, with some of the lowest transaction fees in Europe but it is a lot easier for global schemes such as Visa to make the level of investment that is required,” said Una Dillon, the manager of the Laser scheme. “If AIB were to leave Laser, we would have to seriously consider the future of the scheme.”

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