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Four banks to merge their cash machine networks
Belgium's four biggest retail banks are planning to merge their cash machines into one standardised nationwide network from next year.
The move by BNP Paribas Fortis, KBC, Belfius and ING aims to improve customers' access to cash at a time when bank branches are disappearing.
Each of the four banks' ATMs will adopt a uniform look and feel, Le Soir reports, with the first new distributors due to appear in 2021.
"They will be standarised," a source told the newspaper. "But the exact details will come in the coming weeks."
In theory, the partnership would mean a customer could use a cash machine at any of the four banks - and not risk a surcharge.
At present, holders of an ING Lion Account, for example, are charged €0.50 if they want to withdraw cash from a rival bank's ATM.
Five smaller banks have already joined forces. Argenta, Axa, Crelan, Bpost and VDK pooled their cash machine networks last November, to make maintenance easier.
According to the Belgian banking federation Febelfin, there are 10% fewer cash machines today than five years ago - down from 8,754 in 2015 to 7,869 today.