The days of hunting for your own bank’s ATM to make a free withdrawal could be a thing of the past. (ABC: Michael Janda)
Westpac and ANZ have followed the Commonwealth Bank’s lead and axed ATM withdrawal fees for customers of other banks.
The banks said they were aware of the deep unpopularity of “foreign ATM” fees among Australians.
This morning, the CBA was the first to abolish the $2 fee for each withdrawal by non-customers.
“We have been listening to consumer groups and our customers and understand that there’s a need to make changes that benefit all Australians, this is one of the steps we’re taking to make that happen,” said Matt Comyn, group executive of retail banking services.
Westpac announced they were following suit shortly after, emphasising the benefits afforded to those in regional and rural Australia.
“We want all Australians, whether they are Westpac Group customers or not, to benefit from one of Australia’s largest ATM networks,” Westpac executive George Frazis said.
“This will make it more convenient for millions of Australians to conveniently obtain cash, with no additional fees.
“It will particularly assist Australians in rural and regional areas.”
ANZ also announced they would dump ATM fees from October.
“We know ATM fees are one of the most unpopular and while our customers have benefitted from our network of ATMs across the country, this is another example of acting on customer feedback as well as genuine reform from the industry,” executive Fred Ohlsson said.
There were more than 250 million withdrawal across all Australian banks by non-customers last financial year, according to Reserve Bank data.
That means more than $500 million was withdrawn at an additional fee.
Together, Australian financial institutions made half a billion dollars from these fees over the financial year.
Treasurer Scott Morrison said the ball was now in the court of the other major banks to remove the fees.
He pointed to Federal Government pressure as the reason behind the CBA’s decision.
“The Turnbull Government has been working hard to ensure bank customers get a better deal and this is further evidence we are getting results,” the Treasurer said in a statement.
‘A bank that needed a good-news story’
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described the fees as a “rort”, adding that all the big banks should follow suit.
“The rort of charging people from other banks to use their ATMs needs to stop,” Mr Shorten said.
“Now, the Commonwealth Bank has finally realised that the game is up and the rort has got to stop, I expect the other big banks to stop rorting their customers with these $2 fees.”
He attributed the move to pressure from the Opposition for a banking royal commission.
Consumer group Choice had also been urging the other banks to remove the fees.
“We shouldn’t be paying them, the United Kingdom has already shown they can run an ATM network that is free of fees,” Choice spokesman Tom Godfrey said.
“Whether it’s issues with CommInsure, financial planning scandals or the issues they’ve had with AUSTRACK, this is a bank that needed a good-news story.”