Bank ditches ATM fee

CBA dumps charge that costs Aus­tralians $500m a year

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - SO­PHIE ELSWORTH and JOHN ROLFE

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.

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