ATMs are being prepared for the transition to euro

Published: 12 March 2014 y., Wednesday

According to the Bank of Lithuania, there are 1,361 automated teller machines (ATMs) in Lithuania. Draft Law on the Introduction of Euro in Lithuania provides that, as of the first day of the introduction of euro in our country, ATMs will not issue litas. Therefore, all the commercial banks in the country are required to fully prepare the ATM network infrastructure for the issuance of euro banknotes and to ensure that the machines are filled with euros.

According to Tomas Bublys, Technical Director of a company that provides hardware and develops specialized software solutions for the banking and retail sectors “Penkių kontinentų bankinės technologijos” (BS/2), the process of preparing for the introduction of euro in the financial services market began much earlier than the issue was first addressed publicly. “Software vendors and their customers, i.e. banks and retail businesses, though about the changes that are to be faced upon the introduction of euro in Lithuania in advance; therefore, they started adapting the systems for the operations with euros several years ago”, says T. Bublys.

According to the representative of BS/2, comprehensive update of ATMs usually takes about nine months. However, update operations of different machines require different amounts of time. This depends on the type of machine and software installed in it. ATMs that accept cash require more time. In this case, it is necessary to both update the software and provide for additional technical components. By the way, highly sophisticated machines can be reconfigured remotely.

The company BS/2 was actively involved in the procedures of the transition to euro in neighbouring countries, i.e. Estonia and Latvia; therefore, it is well aware of changes and operations to be faced in Lithuania in the near future. “As Estonia and Latvia made a transition to euro, all ATMs maintained by us began smoothly issuing euro banknotes within the first 30 minutes. Moreover, Latvia has become the third country in the eurozone, whose ATMs issue euro banknotes with the smallest denomination, i.e. 5 euros. This also required specific adjustment of the ATMs”, says T. Bublys.

To ensure successful issuance of euro banknotes, ATMs in Latvia were on a system maintenance break for about one hour on the night from December 31st to January 1st. The first euro banknote was collected from an ATM by the former Prime Minister of Latvia Valdis Dombrovskis. Moreover, some ATMs that accept cash were accepting lats for additional two weeks after the New Year’s Eve. We will see how the Lithuanian banks will behave after the introduction of euro following the final decision of the European Council of the Economics and Finance Ministers (ECOFIN) on the admission of Lithuania to the eurozone.

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