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ATM users will no longer be stung by hidden charges

20 Feb 2009 3:27 PM

CANBERRA, Feb 20 AAP - The nation's central bank chief has warned retail banks against imposing fees on their customers who use a competitor's ATM.

The actual cost of processing "foreign" transactions was less than 10 cents each, Reserve Bank of Australian (RBA) Governor Glenn Stevens told a parliamentary committee.

Under new arrangements, soon to be introduced, an ATM owner will be able to charge a fee provided they disclose the amount prior to the transaction.

"Use of another bank's ATMs will presumably attract a fee by that other bank to cover the costs," Mr Stevens said.

"But the only cost to a cardholder's bank ... is the cost of processing the transaction electronically."

Because that was a matter of no more than 10 cents, the Reserve Bank could not see any strong case for a foreign fee.

Independent ATM owners, which make up about half of the outlets in Australia, would charge a fee for the use of their machines, maintaining an incentive to grow their network.

"Otherwise, it is likely that the independents as a source of competition would diminish over time, and reduce consumer choice," Mr Stevens said.