Shopper Alert: ATM Fees Are Making A Comeback

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Attention penny-pinchers: From January 1, NAB customers will once again be charged ATM fees at over 3000 machines. Here are the details.

NAB customers may be in for a nasty shock tomorrow when they attempt to withdraw money from select ATMs. Customers will be charged a $2 transaction fee for using any ATM in the RediATM network.

The reintroduction of fees can be attributed to an ending partnership between NAB and RediATM operators Cuscal. According to NAB, declining use of ATMs was the chief reason for breaking with Cuscal.

As the bank explains on its website:

The way Australians are accessing their cash is changing fast, with ATM use declining by 20 per cent over the past five years, and the number of ATMs that NAB customers can withdraw cash from free-of-charge increasing to more than 7,000 Australia-wide.

This is why NAB has made the decision to no longer be part of the rediATM network from 1 January 2019. Cuscal, the owner and operator of the rediATM network, charges people that use their ATMs a fee if their bank does not have a partnership with the rediATM network.

The good news is that the change doesn't affect non-RediATM machines. You can still make transactions free-of-charge at NAB-, ANZ-, Commonwealth- and Westpac-branded ATMs across Australia. (Australia's other 'big four' banks do not have a partnership with the rediATM network either.)

NAB has posted a full-year profit of $5.55 billion this year. However, its cash earnings were down 14 per cent, which may explain why its trying to claw back a few bucks by ending the RediATM partnership.

It will be interesting to see whether NAB's semi reversal on ATM fees will lead to further creep in this area.

In the lead up to the Banking Royal Commission, the big four banks - including NAB - removed ATM cash withdrawal fees as a gesture of good will. The fees had been costing Australians approximately $500 million per year - far above the maintenance costs of machines.

I think it's fair to say that a decision to reintroduce ATM fees across the board would be viewed by the public as deeply cynical. Hopefully favourable PR remains a high priority for the banks in 2019.

[Via NAB]

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