ACCC proposes no-charge ATM for cardholders

The ACCC has proposed authorising an agreement between members of an ATM sub-network not to charge each other’s cardholders a fee for transactions at ATMs owned by members.

The reforms allow sub-networks to operate where financial institutions continue to charge each other for their cardholders’ transactions, rather than charging the cardholder directly.

The sub-network, branded ‘Feesmart’ means that instead of charging a cardholder a direct fee, Feesmart members will continue to charge each other for ATM transactions. The network in question will then independently decide whether to pass the fee on to its cardholders.

The proposed changes are in direct response to new ATM fee reforms introduced by the Reserve Bank of Australia on March 3, meaning customers can be charged directly by ATM operators for withdrawals of another financial institution, with the fees displayed on the screen.

The changes will allow small institutions to remain competitive within the market, along with protecting customers from being charged excessive ATM fees, says ACCC chairman, Graeme Samuel.

“The ACCC considers the proposed arrangement will be pro-competitive, helping to ensure that smaller financial institutions are not at a competitive disadvantage to the big banks as a result of reforms to the ATM system.”

The ACCC is seeking submissions from interested parties in relation to the draft, and parties wishing to be involved, should visit the ACCC website for further information. (www.accc.gov.au)

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