Bank ditches ATM fee
CBA dumps charge that costs Australians $500m a year
THE most hated of all bank charges — the ATM fee — is set to be consigned to history in what would be a $500 million-a-year win for consumers.
The catalyst is a shock move by the Commonwealth Bank, which is making its 3400 ATMs fee-free for any user, regardless of who they bank with, from today.
Axing the $2 charge for non-CBA customers will cost the nation’s biggest bank tens of millions of dollars annually and puts its rivals under ex- treme pressure to follow suit. Consumer group Choice’s spokesman Tom Godfrey said the decision could trigger the death of the ATM fee.
“Accessing your money from a bank account is an essential service that should be free, rather than an inconvenience with a penalty attached,’’ Mr Godfrey said.
“The move by the Commonwealth Bank to stop charging non-customers to withdraw money is a win for consumers and sends a clear message to other banks that it’s time to axe these fees.”
Australians forked out about $500 million in fees in the past year for withdrawals from ATMs owned by institutions other than their own, News Corp analysis of RBA data found.
Women and young adults are more likely to pay the charge rather than trek to their own bank, according to surveys by financial product com- parison websites. About 40 per cent of the 50 million ATM withdrawals a day has a charge attached.
CBA’s group executive of retail banking services Matt Comyn said ATM fees had long been “unpopular” and consumers were fed up.
Research by other lenders has found ATM charges are the most loathed of all fees.
“It’s very unpopular and I’m sure people will be happy that they no longer have to pay it. And to have access to the largest ATM network in the country for free has to be a good thing,” Mr Comyn said.
From today, users of CBA ATMs will be alerted that withdrawals will be free of charge. The Commonwealth’s move comes after a horror run of negative publicity including scandals in its insurance and financial planning divisions.
Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison urged Westpac, ANZ and NAB to respond.
NO CHARGE: Win for users.