The ACCC has granted interim authorisation Suncorp Metway and the Bendigo Bank to not charge each other’s cardholders a fee for transactions at ATMs they own.
Following reforms to Australia’s ATM system, introduced by the Reserve Bank of Australia in conjunction with the banking industry in March 2009, customers can be charged directly by ATM operators for withdrawals. Most banks do not charge their own cardholders for withdrawals.
Under the reforms there is the potential for larger financial institutions to gain a competitive advantage over smaller financial institutions by virtue of their larger network of ATMs at which they can continue to offer their cardholders direct fee free transactions.
Recognising this, the reforms provide for smaller financial institutions to develop arrangements such as those proposed by Suncorp Metway and the Bendigo & Adelaide Bank to facilitate access to direct fee free transactions at a wider range of ATMs for their cardholders.
Granting interim authorisation allows Suncorp Metway and Bendigo & Adelaide Bank customers to access direct fee free transactions at a wider range of ATMs while the ACCC considers the merits of the substantive application for authorisation.
The ACCC has previously authorised similar arrangements between members of the Feesmart branded and rediATM branded ATM sub networks.
Authorisation provides protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974.
Bendigo Bank’s Head of Access and Payment Systems, Greg Devlin, said the bank was steadily making more ATMs available to its customers, with the network doubling to more than 1100 machines in just the past two years.
“That rapid growth will continue,” Mr Devlin said.
“Our customers value good service, they want us to act in their best interests and they want to feel appreciated for their business.
“This is our point of difference; it’s what our customer’s value and is what sets us apart from our competitors.”