ATM Blessing or Curse?

I congratulate the CBA for coming out and announcing the cancellation of the $2 ATM fee by non-CBA users. It was a rip-off; no question. Withdraw $100 and the banks clip 2% from you. Fortunately, most other banks followed CBA’s lead within the day. But there is a downside … 

There will be fewer ATM’s

We all believe there is an expectation that our bank should provide accessibility for our banking needs. That accessibility has slowly been diminishing as branches close down. Case in point, just in the last few weeks the Westpac Inglewood branch closed down, as well as the ATM located there.  Approximately a year ago, the last bank in Maylands, CBA, closed. Although, at least the CBA ATM’s are still there; but for how much longer?

Placing an ATM in a location requires rental to be paid to the landlord or shop owner. Servicing the ATM is an expensive business as well. Does anyone seriously expect the banks to maintain their ATM numbers now that there is no extra revenue potential? There is now absolutely no need for Westpac and CBA ATM’s to both be in Maylands; who will be the first to remove theirs? And then what, the remaining ATM must carry the surplus demands, and extra cost in stocking of notes etc that comes with it.

You can expect ATM’s to be slowly removed from shopping centres as well; and longer queues at whichever remain. Consumers will no longer differentiate between ATM’s, and this will have to lead to a reduction in them.

Whilst I hated paying the 2%, or 1% if I withdrew $200, at other bank ATM’s, I didn’t have to if I didn’t want to. It’ll annoy me more when I am prepared to pay the $2, but there is no ATM in sight.

Fees will increase

So what will happen? More private ATM operators will enter the market; just google ‘ATM company’ and you’ll see there are plenty out there.  From my experience they usually charge $2.50 per withdrawal, and most galling is that they often limit the amount you can withdraw; so when the fee is converted to a percentage it is unreasonably high.

As the incentive for banks to have ATM’s has now gone, you can ultimately expect to pay more for when you withdraw funds. It may take a few years to play out, but play out it will.

Political BS

Sure enough the pollies have come out and laid claim to this as being a great win for consumers (which on the surface it is), and how they applied political pressure for it to occur. BS. The political pressure needs to be applied now; they must ensure the banks maintain ATM exposure, and my prediction above doesn’t play out. They can also address the credit card surcharge fee we are now paying on most purchases. Did you know that the banks can offer to reduce their general banking fees to an organisation if a higher credit card fee is paid? Ergo, I believe that an organisation can have the credit card surcharge, which is paid for from consumers, subsidise their non-credit card related general banking? That just doesn’t seem fair to me.

Perhaps Shorten is right and there does need to be a Royal Commission into banking.

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