No ATM? New system to withdraw cash rolled out in Belgium

No ATM? New system to withdraw cash rolled out in Belgium
Credit: Nickel

As bank branches and ATMs continue to close, a new system – called 'Nickel' – to withdraw cash from newsagents is being rolled out in Belgium.

The system is an initiative of the French bank BNP Paribas and allows people to open an account with a Belgian number in five minutes at affiliated shops. The account comes with a bank card and gives clients access to an app, which allows them to make transfers. The whole package costs €20 a year.

Having an account allows clients to deposit money in the shop as well as withdraw it. The first three cash withdrawals per month are included in the package price. Any withdrawal after that costs an additional €0.50.

With the card – which also allows people to make payments in shops – withdrawing money from an ATM is possible as well but it will cost €1.50 each time. On every cash deposit, 2% of the amount is charged in fees; part of that amount will go to the newsagent who can earn extra income that way.

Accepting 190 passports

Customers can deposit a maximum of €950 per month in cash and withdraw a maximum of €300 in cash per week. With a more expensive card, the amount that can be withdrawn can be increased to €1,000 per week. It is also possible to top up your Nickel account from another bank account.

Virtually anyone can become a customer at Nickel, including people who have problems opening an account at another bank. The bank accepts 190 passports, including a Ukrainian one. Going into the red on the account is not possible.

Since this summer, the system has been rolled out in Belgium through newsagents. At the start of December, 200 shops were already participating: 40% in Flanders, 20% in the Brussels-Capital Region and 40% in Wallonia. Another 100 have committed but were still waiting for a bank terminal.

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Nickel was launched in France and Spain and then came to Belgium. It now also operates in Portugal. Next year, the company wants to launch in Germany. In France, Nickel revenues already account for 8% of the turnover of participating newsagents.

In total, more than 3 million people already use Nickel's services. In five years, the company aims to have 300,000 customers in Belgium.

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