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Australian banks drop ATM fees

Categories : Cash is efficient, Costs of cash versus costs of electronic payment instruments
October 16, 2017
Tags : ATM, ATMs, Australia, Cash
Australia just rid itself of all ATM surcharge fees for customers, allowing customers that mostly rely on ATMs to access their money for free.
Communication Team / Equipo de Comunicación

A few weeks ago, four major Australian banks – Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ and NAB – announced the abolition of charges at their ATMs for all customers regardless of their bank. As a result, around 10,000 terminals are now free of charge across the country, representing a big victory for consumers. According to George Frazis – Westpac’s spokesman – this measure will especially help people living in rural areas, which rely on a scarce number of ATMs.   

The approach applied in Australia is a reminder that each country and each bank has its own policy regarding charges – within the limits of the law. In Spain, for instance, the three biggest banks – namely Santander, BBVA and CaixaBank – impose charges of respectively €1.85, €1.87 and €2 to Spanish consumers holding a card issued by another bank. The fees are even higher for foreigners living outside the Eurozone and can amount to €5 per transaction.

But since it is prohibited by law to impose charges directly on consumers, Spanish ATM owners do not charge the consumer, but its bank, which can in turn decide to pass the bill on to its customer or not. The law was adopted to avoid double-charging, imposed directly and indirectly for the same single transaction. Fortunately, many Spanish banks spare their customers and do not transmit these fees, such as ING or EVO banks. EVO even enables its customers to retrieve money “for free” at all ATMs worldwide.

A new trend that might interest frequent travellers is mobile banking. Mobile banks work via a mobile app and enable their users to retrieve money at many ATMs worldwide without a surcharge. For instance, Maltese mobile bank Ferratum Bank can be used to withdraw cash at all ATMs of Spain, while German mobile bank N26 and Spanish app imaginbank are available at all ATMs across Europe.

To read the original [Spanish] article, please click here.