Australians will soon be able to use almost any ATM across the country, after Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, NAB and Westpac axe withdrawal fees for customers of rival banks.
Commonwealth Bank were the first to announce the decision Sunday morning, abolishing the $2 withdrawal fee charged to customers of other banks.
The move comes after a long line of complaints from customers about being charged fees for using another bank’s ATM.
“We think this change will benefit many Australians and hopefully demonstrate our willingness to listen and act on customer feedback,” Commonwealth Bank’s group executive of retail banking services, Matt Comyn, said.
By Sunday afternoon, Australia’s other big banks had followed suit.
Westpac was the first of the remaining three, announcing it will abolish withdrawal fees from October 5.
The bank will drop fees for all Westpac Group’s ATMs including St.George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA.
ANZ followed, announcing it too would drop fees for its 2,300 machines in early October.
NAB were the last of the big four banks to jump onboard, announcing no particular date for when the ‘no fee withdrawal’ will come into effect.
“We know it has been frustrating for [customers] to be charged to withdraw their own money from an ATM, and the change we are announcing today will benefit millions of Australians,” NAB chief customer officer, Andrew Hagger, said.
Westpac noted that the decision would be particularly beneficial to Australians in rural and regional areas.
“We understand that the ‘foreign ATM’ fee has been deeply unpopular with consumers,” Westpac consumer group executive, George Frazis, said.
But not all customers however were not so lucky, with all of the banks keeping the ATM fee for overseas cards.
The Commonwealth Bank’s free ATM use also excludes Bankwest ATMs.
What’s in it for the banks?
Australians made more than 250 million ATM withdrawals from banks other than their own last year, Reserve Bank of Australia data has revealed.
Australian financial institutions made $500 million from these fees over the past financial year.
According to The Australian, Treasurer Scott Morrison, who welcomed the decision, is keeping a close eye on the banks ensuring they don’t make up for the axed fees elsewhere.
“Australians are sick and tired of these types of fees. We will be watching banks carefully to ensure they don’t pass on these costs to consumers in other ways,” Mr Morrison said.
It was also suggested the sudden fee dumping is a Commonwealth Bank strategy to repair the bank’s reputation in the wake of a money-laundering scandal.
But ANZ group executive Fred Ohlsson says the decision is a good response to the Turnbull Government’s focus on improving the banking sector.
“This is another example of acting on customer feedback as well as genuine reform from the industry,” Mr Ohlsson said.