ECONOMY

Converting ATMs

At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, the new currency, the euro, will officially go into circulation. Due to time zone differences, Greece and Finland will be the first of a total of 12 countries in which people will make their transactions in euros. Euro banknotes will not be readily available to all, however. This is because Greece’s banks have different policies on how they will convert their automatic teller machines (ATMs) overnight. Here is what the biggest banks have said they will do: – NATIONAL BANK: All ATMs will be converted within the first day, January 1. At least one third will be ready to distribute euros at midnight local time on December 31. – ALPHA BANK: One quarter of ATMs will be ready by midnight and 60 percent will have made the changeover within three hours after that. All will be distributing euros by 8 a.m. on January 1. – COMMERCIAL BANK: All ATMs will be shut from 11 p.m. on December 31 until 7 a.m. on January 1, by which time all will have been converted to distribute euros. – EFG EUROBANK: Some 10 percent of ATMs will be euro-ready at midnight on December 31. More than 90 percent are expected to have been converted by the third day, January 3. – PIRAEUS BANK: All ATMs will shut down at 9 p.m. on December 31 and open up again at midnight with euros.