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Dutch banks begin transition to joint ATM network

Dutch banks begin transition to joint ATM network

ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank have begun the process of transferring their ATMs to a new operator as they seek to adjust to a world where cash use is declining but customers still demand easy access to paper money.

The first Geldmaat ATM has been unveiled in the Overhees shopping centre in the Dutch town of Soest, kicking off a process that will see the bright yellow machines pop up across the country over the next two years.

With cash's popularity falling, in 2017 ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank began investigating the creation of a joint ATM network that would keep coverage high through an "optimised and safer" network with fewer machines.

By following the Swedish model of having a dedicated brand for cash machines, customers would be able to use the closest ATM within the new network, regardless of which bank used to operate it.

The banks tapped Geldmaat, formally called Geldservice Nederland, a cash logistics JV they set up in 2011, to operate the new independent network.

Geldmaat says that in busy streets the number of ATMs will be reduced, but by recasting the network, machines will be more evenly spread based on criteria such as the number of transactions, peak times and the catchment area.

The basic premise remains that, in sparsely populated areas, a cash machine should be available within a radius of five kilometres.

ABN Amro's Bart van de Sande, who serves on the transition board, says: "The close collaboration and sheer hard work by many will result in an even more balanced distribution of ATMs across the country, keeping cash accessible, affordable, safe and available for all."

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