Australian banks drop ATM fees

Australia’s ‘big four’ banks – Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, ANZ and Westpac – have provided some good news for the many consumers in the country who rely on ATMs to access cash and manage their money.

These providers have announced that they are dropping the fee charged when customers of other banks use their ATMs to make a withdrawal.

Commonwealth Bank was the first to announce that non-customers will no longer be charged to take cash out at any of its 3,400 ATMs across Australia. The change has now taken effect, although it excludes Bankwest machines and customers using overseas cards.

The bank’s three main rivals swiftly followed suit and their fee removals will come into force over the course of October.

Matt Comyn, group executive for retail banking services at Commonwealth Bank, said Australians have “complained for some time” about being charged fees for using ATMs that belong to another bank.

“We have been listening to consumer groups and our customers and understand that there’s a need to make changes that benefit all Australians, no matter who they bank with. This is one of the steps we’re taking to make that happen,” he added.

Four days after announcing the removal of withdrawal fees, Commonwealth Bank revealed that use of its ATMs by customers of other banks had increased by 34 percent.

Australia is a market that remains heavily dependent on cash, particularly for low-value transactions, despite recent growth in card and contactless payments.

According to data from the Reserve Bank of Australia, 37 percent of all payments made in 2016 were in cash, but paper currency remained the most common method for transactions of $10 or less.

Raghavendra Bhat, head of technology at ANZ, recently told PYMNTS.com that cash remains extremely important to smaller businesses that want to avoid the costs associated with handling card payments.

Image credit: peterwilsonjones/iStock

Written by Jack Dougal

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