ATM announcement falls short

The federal government responds to recommendations on ATM fees.
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01.A missed opportunity


The federal government's announcement on ATM fees falls short of delivering a better deal for consumers. 

CHOICE says the announcement is a missed opportunity, as the government has ignored many of the most pressing issues affecting Australians using ATMs.

CHOICE has, however, welcomed the news that ATM fees will be scrapped for remote indigenous communities. 

What’s missing at the hole in the wall?

The government was responding to recommendations from RBA and Treasury regarding bank fees for using so-called "foreign" ATMs. 

This is an ATM not owned or allied with the financial institution where the person’s account is held. CHOICE believes that these fees should fairly reflect the actual costs of processing the transactions. It is disappointing that this commitment was missing from the today’s announcement.

Other recommendations from the people’s watchdog were also missing. These include:

  1. abolishing fees for on-screen balance enquiries, and
  2. the need for prominently displayed warnings on the ATMs that consumers what fee they will pay, before they start the transaction.

These recommendations, and others, form part of CHOICE’s ongoing Better Banking campaign.

Just give us the true cost

Greens deputy leader, Adam Bandt MP, has lashed out at Treasurer Wayne Swan, saying that he has “squibbed” on ATM reform.

"By being regularly charged $2 or more for withdrawals, Australians are forced to pay to access their own money," Mr Bandt said.

"Banking is an essential service but the amount of money Australian consumers pay in ATM fees is a scandal and needs to stop."

Mr Bandt claims his proposed Banking Amendment (Delivering Essential Financial Services) Bill will ensure that fees reflect their true cost.

What's next? 

CHOICE will continue to call for a fair deal for Australian consumers at the ATM. A good start would be for the government to reconsider our recommendations for greater transparency on the location, costs and revenue generated by ATMs. 

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