Laser cards ceased to be accepted by retailers as and from 28th February 2014, having been replaced by international debit card brands Visa and MasterCard.
The Laser Card Scheme was established in Ireland in 1996, providing an alternative payment tool to cash and cheques. 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 adopted Chip & PIN, in-keeping with security measures taken by the card payments industry across Europe. Fraud was always low on Laser with levels of fraud to turnover remaining consistently at 0.03% over the years which compared well against an average of up to 0.14% for general card payments in Europe.
Laser reached its highest number 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 €11.1 billion in one single year (2010).