(Australian Associated Press)
Australians are still forking out half a billion dollars a year in ATM fees they don’t need to be paying.
Instead of withdrawing their money for free at their own banks’ ATMs, many Australians continue to use `foreign’ machines belonging to a third-party provider which commonly charge a $2 fee.
About 40 per cent of all ATM transactions are being done at `foreign’ ATMs, RateCity.com.au says.
That had cost Australians an estimated $548 million in avoidable ATM fees in the past year, the financial comparison site said after analysing Reserve Bank of Australia data.
“Half a billion dollars a year is an excessive amount of money to be spending on accessing our own money,” RateCity money editor Sally Tindall said on Monday.
A RBA report released last week found that direct ATM charges have, on average, risen slightly in real terms since 2009 industry reforms.
But the amount spent on ATM fees has fallen, reflecting declines in the number of withdrawals and the proportion of withdrawals on which a direct charge is paid.
Demand for ATM services has declined amid a consumer shift towards electronic payments rather than cash.
The number of withdrawals on which a direct charge is paid has fallen by about 20 per cent since 2010, the RBA says, implying a $60 million reduction in fees paid.
A RateCity survey found that one in three Australians still pay ATM fees, with women and young adults more willing to fork out for convenience.
“If half of these transactions were made either at a free ATM or at a retailer that provides cash out, collectively we’d save around $274 million per year,” Ms Tindall said.
She said only five per cent of people used everyday accounts that refund ATM fees regardless of which outlet is used.
PAYING TO GET MONEY FROM AN ATM
* How much it cost in fees:
– $548m year to January 2016
– $596m year to January 2015
– $683m year to January 2009
– $815m year to January 2008
* About 40 pct of ATM transactions incurred a fee as at January 2016
* A direct charge was paid on 28 pct of all withdrawals in 2014/15; down from 33 pct in early 2010
* $2 remains the most common withdrawal charge
Source: RateCity.com.au (calculation assumes average fee of $2 per transaction), Reserve Bank of Australia.