Location, location, location: the long road to a smarter cash network in Belgium

23/04/2021

New Batopin CASH points will be appearing all over Belgium in the coming years. These will be ‘bank-neutral’ ATMs that don’t feature the logos of the participating banks: Belfius, BNP Paribas Fortis, ING and KBC. An operation on this scale takes a huge amount of preparation. Deciding on the right locations for the ATMs is a painstaking process, based on a mass of geographical and demographic data.

To make sure it all runs smoothly, Batopin is working closely with experts in mobility, economics and public spaces. The location plan for the ATMs is beginning literally from zero and takes account of where Belgians live, work, shop and how they travel today.

Largest retail chain

In practical terms, Batopin aims to offer 95% of people a CASH point that is a maximum of 5 kilometres from their front door.

To make that happen, approximately 500 locations are needed to cover the whole of Belgium. This geographic number will then be fine-tuned, based on local needs (mobility, commercial and retail centres, accessibility, etc.). This means that Batopin will need 650 to 750 locations – enough to match the current coverage of the networks provided by the major banks.

In busy locations, there will be multiple ATMs located next to each other to avoid queues. This will take the total number of CASH points required up to 2,000 to 2,400. In doing so, we will actually create the biggest ‘retail chain’ in Belgium, tailored to our society.

Phased rollout

The full rollout of the Batopin network will take several years to complete, from mid-2021 through to the end of 2024. The first CASH point for making cash withdrawals is planned for this summer, while cash deposits will be possible from the beginning of 2022. From that time onwards, the four big banks will gradually begin to reduce the number of ATMs operating under their own brand names. This process will run simultaneously with the development of the new Batopin cash network.

Being able to withdraw cash on every street corner is neither necessary nor feasible in these digital times. But what we do need is better distribution of the ATMs that are out there. The approach whereby multiple banks join forces* is the most efficient solution for ensuring that everyone can have access to the cash they need.

maps bank

Every location counts

To create its location plan, Batopin has drawn inspiration from the concept of a major retailer opening its stores in the best possible locations. This will mean that ATMs located close to one another will be scrapped if they are underused – we have all seen four or more ATMs located around the same village square.

The optimization of the cash network (less CASH points but spread more efficiently) requires a huge amount of administrative work, because new ATMs require new permits and other permissions. So Batopin has not simply opted for a replacement programme but has taken a blank sheet to create the ideal network where every location counts. It’s not always the easiest way, but it is definitely the best.

* “ATM as a service”, the service offered by Batopin, is open to all banks. See who the members are here.


New mobility: Batopin and the Belgian national railway company (SNCB/NMBS)

New mobility is one of the spearheads in our location plan and the acquisition of the concession of the Belgian national railway company offers the opportunity to effectively subscribe to it. Batopin and the Belgian national railway company selected the most meaningful locations for CASH points in approximatively 80 Belgian railway stations. The selection is the result of a thorough thinking process based on the value of physical meeting points and includes obvious ‘high traffic’ locations as well as less busy locations with an important local and societal role (for example cities with no real city center).


Share this page on

Newsletter

Want the latest developments from the Batopin project as they happen?

Subscribe to the newsletter