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An interbank network, also known as an ATM consortium or ATM network, is a computer network that connects the ATMs of different banks and permits these ATMs to interact with the ATM cards of non-native banks.

While interbank networks provide capabilities for all ATM cards within the same network to use other banks' ATMs that belong to the same network, the services vary. For instance, when a person uses their ATM card at an ATM that does not belong to their bank, the basic services, such as balance inquiries and withdrawals, are usually available. However, special services, such as the purchase of mobile phone airtime, are usually not accessible to ATM cardholders of banks other than the ATM cardholders of the acquirer (the bank that owns the ATM). Furthermore, many banks will charge a fee to users of cards that do not come from their own bank (in addition to any fees imposed by the bank of the card the person is using).

Interbank networks are convenient because people can access the ATMs of other banks who are members of the network when their own bank's ATM is unavailable. Such is especially convenient for travelers traveling abroad, where multinational interbank networks, like PLUS or Cirrus, are usually available.

Interbank networks also, through different means, permit the use of ATM cards at a point of sale through the use of a special EFTPOS terminal where ATM cards are treated as debit cards.

See also



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