After a year and a half of preparation, Batopin today opens the country's first six bank-neutral ATMs, spread across Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia. The new CASH points will gradually replace the existing ATMs of the major banks. They will carry the Bancontact logo, a strong local brand that every Belgian is familiar with. In addition to the planned locations, Batopin has also announced that 24 additional CASH points will be set up in locations deemed to be ‘vulnerable’..
Electronic payments are now easier and more popular than ever. Just tap your card or scan it with the app, and the payment’s paid. As a result, the use of cash has been declining in Belgium for some years. The success of digital banking also means that there are fewer bank branches and the supply of ATMs is no longer evenly distributed across the country. In one municipality, for instance, there’ll be too many ATMs, with too few elsewhere. The Batopin project is the four major banks' answer to this structural problem.
Batopin was founded in March 2020 on the initiative of Belfius, BNP Paribas Fortis, ING and KBC. Over the coming years, the four major banks will together build a network of neutral ATMs, separate from their own bank branches. Batopin will manage these ATMs and install the neutral 'CASH points' all over the country. The banks’ own-branded ATMs will then be phased out gradually until the end of 2024.
The first six Batopin CASH points became operational today, located in Anderlecht, Ghent, Lierneux, Stavelot, Nimy and Clavier. For the residents of Stavelot and Lierneux, this provides quite a boost to the availability of cash, as these municipalities already no longer had an ATM.
The construction of the new cash network will take place gradually over a number of years and will only be fully completed by the end of 2024. Each new CASH point is selected after thorough analysis weighing up all the critical elements: geography, demographic factors, local needs, actual figures of cash use in the neighbourhood, etc.
The Batopin website at batopin.be shows there are some 50 more new locations planned as of this morning. This brings the total number of sites already confirmed to around 150, or more than 20% of the new cash network.