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Battle begins over ATM fees

Battle begins over ATM fees

(17 February 2009 – Australia) Debate over ATM fees has begun as Australia closes in on the start date for the reform on ATM fees. The reform is an industry initiative undertaken in response to the RBA’s demand that ATM reform principles be voluntarily implemented.

Beginning March 2009, ATM owners must disclose the cost to the customer at the time of transaction. If it is too high, the customer can cancel the transaction.

While banks and other ATM providers now have the potential to charge whatever they want, the reform is focused on the idea that competition will rule in the end.

However, some banks have taken the spotlight by announcing that many will still also charge a ‘foreign-ATM’ fee, if their own customers use another ATM. Customers may now potentially face two fees.

This has sparked the reaction of media and consumer action groups. Consumer group, Choice, has attacked the banks for their ‘foreign ATM’ fees, which it says could earn the banks up to $200 million per year.

The Australian Bankers Association (ABA), in response, has defended the banks that it represents. The ABA said that the market will decide if the fees are too high and that customers can simply use their own bank’s ATMs to avoid paying any fee at all.

With March fast approaching, banks and ATM providers will soon see the real customer reaction to this issue.
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