Government hits ‘cancel’ on broader ATM benefits – CHOICE

After 17 months government ATM response leaves hole in the wall on banking reform

CHOICE says that today’s ATM announcement from the Federal Government is a missed opportunity to make essential banking services fairer for Australian consumers.

While CHOICE applauds the initiative to provide free ATM transactions in very remote Indigenous communities, the people’s watchdog says the Government’s separate response on ATM competition is disappointing.
“CHOICE believes that providing consumers with access to their own money should be fair and transparent, not an avenue for excessive revenue raising,” says CHOICE Head of Campaigns, Matt Levey.

“The fact that we have seen the emergence of ‘own-your-own-ATM’ schemes promising huge returns shows there is something very wrong in this market from a consumer perspective.

“Unfortunately, 17 months after this ATM taskforce was announced, the Government’s response fails to recognise that ATMs are not working in consumers’ best interests.”

As part of its Better Banking Campaign, CHOICE has been calling for the abolition of on-screen balance enquiry fees and prominent external signage for so-called ‘foreign’ ATM fees.
“If banks and the Government are serious about improving financial literacy, surely removing fees for letting people know how much money they have in their account is the first place to start,” says Mr Levey.

“Nowhere in this announcement is any suggestion that ATM fees need to fairly reflect the cost of processing transactions.
“We continue to call on the government to task the regulators with publishing regular information on the location, costs and revenue generated by ATMs as well as the amount of balance enquiry fees paid by Australian consumers.”