The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) this morning announced it would remove automatic teller machine (ATM) fees for ‘foreign bank’ transactions using their ATM network. Westpac quickly followed suit, announcing at 2pm today (Sunday 24 September) announcing it too would remove ‘foreign bank’ fees.
The ANZ Bank soon followed.
“Australians have complained for some time about being charged fees for using another bank’s ATM,” CBA’s group executive, retail banking services, Matt Comyn, said in a statement on Sunday.
Westpac’s group executive for consumer relations, George Frazis, said non-Westpac Group customers would no longer be charged an ATM withdrawal fee when they used one of Westpac Group’s 2,925 ATMs.
The move extends to non-Westpac customers using St George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA ATMs as well.
“We want all Australians, whether they are Westpac Group customers or not, to benefit from one of Australia’s largest ATM networks,” Frazis said.
Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) data shows Australians made over 250 million ATM withdrawals from banks other than their own last year.
Customers of other banks now have access to the Commonwealth Bank’s network of 3,400 branded ATMs, Westpac’s 2, 925 ATMs and the ANZ Bank’s free of charge.
Consumer advocacy group Choice welcomed the Commonwealth Bank’s lead whilst calling on other banks to follow.
Choice spokesman, Tom Godfrey believes ” [that] this is one bank that needs a good news story,” following the CommInsure scandal and alleged failure to meet Federal money-laundering legislation.
The number of ATM withdrawals in January fell by 7.7 percent compared to last year. It follows two consecutive years of ATM withdrawals falling by more than 6 percent as more shoppers use cards, including contactless payments, where they would have previously paid in cash.
An RBA publication last year found the average direct charge for a foreign withdrawal in July 2015 was $2.33, up from $2.04 in 2010 and $1.96 in 2009.
National Australia Bank is expected to follow.
Australia’s ‘big four’ banks first announced in the 1990s when ATMs began replacing passbooks that there ‘would never be any fees for using another, or any, bank’s ATM.