ATMs to be closed at night for at least another year

Emergency services at the scene of a failed ATM bombing at an ABN Amro cash machine on Van Limburg Stirumstraat in Amsterdam, 30 Sept 2019
Emergency services at the scene of a failed ATM bombing at an ABN Amro cash machine on Van Limburg Stirumstraat in Amsterdam, 30 Sept 2019Politie

ATMs in the Netherlands will remain closed at night for at least another year in an effort to prevent criminals trying to blow them open to get at the cash inside, the Dutch association of banks NVB announced on Thursday. It will take at least that long for all cash machines to be equipped with the technology that automatically destroys cash in the event of an ATM bombing, the association said.

In December the banks in the Netherlands implemented the measure of closing down ATMs between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. due to a large number of ATM bombings last year. It has proved effective, according to the banks' first evaluation. There were only four ATM bombings since the measure was introduced. In all of 2019, there were 71 such  bombings.

The ATMs will therefore remain closed during the night until they are equipped against bombings. Though the banks will keep around 100 ATMs, mainly located in nightlife areas, open later, until 2:00 a.m. According to NVB, these ATMs are mainly used at night and the chance of an ATM bombing is smaller in the nightlife crowds.

The nighttime closures of the ATMs aren't causing much inconvenience, NVB said. The vast majority of Netherlands residents don't withdraw cash at night, with only 2 percent of withdrawals happening in the hours the ATMs are closed. 

A survey by research agency Kantar on behalf of NVB showed that almost all Netherlands residents understands why ATMs have to be closed at night. The small group that is against this measure, mainly disagrees because they think that there are better alternative measures banks can take that will affect consumers less. 

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