Mozo released some research last week on ATM Direct Charging – this is the fee that the ATM Operator charges you when you go to an ATM that’s not from your bank. It showed that $2.50 is becoming the new $2, at least among the independent ATM networks.
For full details read: The ATM Trap: $600 million in fees.
Now we think these developments are a failure of the ATM Direct Charging reforms. The RBA said that the reforms were supposed to ensure that:
“…fees paid for cash withdrawals are more transparent and are subject to competitive pressure…”
If consumers have no way of choosing which ATM to approach outside of their own bank ATM then that is hardly transparent, and competitive forces will not operate in the ATM fee market.
In fact, the former CEO of Customers told analysts earlier this month that he was “ … very pleased with the elasticity of the direct charge…”. That’s a nice way of saying “not subject to competitive pressure”.
What is of great concern is that a joint RBA / Treasury taskforce examined competition and regulation in ATM fees last year, and reported to the Treasurer in June. But 9 months later, the Treasurer has not released the report and has made no public statements in response to it. His office told me that the Treasurer is “still considering it”.
We are calling on the Treasurer to release the report, respond to it, and put an end to what could be the thin edge of the wedge.
In the meantime, here’s some transparency so people can make informed decisions:
● NAB ATMs charge $1.50 for a withdrawal – less than any other network. If you can’t get to an ATM that’s connected to your bank, go to a NAB ATM.
● Customers and Cashcard ATMs typically charge $2.50 and are best avoided.
● Be wary of Bank of Queensland, Suncorp, Bendigo and Citibank – these guys have outsourced to Customers or Cashcard and in some locations you will be hit for $2.50.
● And whenever you can, walk the extra distance to an ATM connected to your institution, or get cash out via EFTPOS – rather than pay to access your own money.