01.ACCC authorises fee-free ATM initiative
The ACCC has authorised a fee-free initiative for certain ATM transactions in several remote Indigenous communities, meaning it can now move ahead.
The project is a response to the ATM Taskforce Report, which found that people living in remote Indigenous communities pay more in ATM fees than other Australians. This is due to frequent ATM usage and a lack of access to alternatives.
According to Financial Counselling Australia, which has welcomed the news, individuals in these communities can pay up to 20% of their incomes in fees.
The ACCC needed to authorise the project because it may involve anti-competitive conduct. It authorised the initiative because it was satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.
“The ACCC has authorised a project coordinated by the Australian Bankers' Association (ABA) to provide fee-free ATM withdrawals and balance inquiries at 76 selected existing ATMs to the customers of participating banks,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.
“This will help to alleviate financial and social disadvantage for Indigenous people living in very remote communities by addressing the issue of high ATM usage and removing fees for certain transactions.”
CHOICE welcomes the news that ATM fees will be reduced for consumers in remote Indigenous communities. However, we believe there is still much more reform needed to end Australia’s unfair ATM fees.
CHOICE’s ongoing Better Banking campaign highlights some of these reforms, such as abolishing fees for on-screen balance enquiries and prominently displaying warnings on the ATMs so that consumers know what fee they will pay before they start the transaction.
CHOICE will continue to campaign for these and other important reforms. You can help CHOICE campaign by signing up as a campaigns supporter.