Debit card holders stung by $10 ATM fee

Consumers living in remote areas of Australia are often paying $20-$40 per fortnight in ATM fees – costs which significantly reduce the amount they can spend on food and other essential items, new research has found.

While other Australians can avoid these fees by using their own bank's ATM or EFTPOS, there is typically only one ATM in a remote community, the study by the Australian Financial Counselling and Credit Reform Association (AFCCRA) said.

AFCCRA noted that ATM charges are generally either $2 or $2.50 per transaction, but added that the fee is as high as $10 per transaction in one community.

The association's executive director, Fiona Guthrie, said such a situation is particularly affecting Indigenous consumers.

"People living in remote communities need the same access to safe and affordable banking products as everyone else and this includes the ATM payment system," she added.

Consumers unhappy with bank fees and other costs could choose to compare debit cards and other money products in search of better options. According to Mortgage Choice's national 2010 Consumer Sentiment Survey, which was released this week, Australians are most concerned about rising living costs over the coming year.

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