What is Laser?
Laser is a debit card and is accepted by shops all over Ireland. The card is co-branded with Maestro which allows cardholders to use the card abroad at ATMs and in shops.
The Laser Card Scheme was established in 1996 and by 1997 AIB, Bank of Ireland, Irish Permanent, National Irish Bank, TSB Bank and Ulster Bank were issuing Laser cards to their current account customers. ACC Bank and First Active joined the scheme later on and as it happens were the first to withdraw from the scheme a number of years later.
In 2002 the scheme started the process to convert Laser to include Chip & PIN, in-keeping with security measures taken by the card payments industry across Europe.
Fraud has always been low on Laser with levels of fraud to turnover remaining consistently at 0.03% over the years which compares well against the average of 0.14% on general card payments in Europe.
Laser reached its highest numbers in 2011 when there were more than 3 million active Laser debit cards in the market. The highest value spent on goods and services was €201 million in one single year (2010)
In recent years the first members to withdraw from the scheme and to replace their Laser cards with alternative brands of debit card were Ulster Bank, EBS, permanent tsb and Bank of Ireland. AIB and Danske Bank (formerly National Irish Bank) remain as active members.
In 2012 the average number of sales on Laser per month was 11 million. The average ticket value is €71
Laser is currently being replaced in the market by Visa Debit and Debit MasterCard cards.