Banks Shy Away From ATM Fee Signs

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

From The Hill:

The banking industry is lobbying aggressively against a regulation that requires ATM operators to post placards that list the fees for using the machines.

Business groups argue the fees are already disclosed on the ATM screen during a transaction and say the placard requirement spawns frivolous, costly lawsuits that cost thousands of dollars to fight. A bill that would void the rule is moving swiftly through the House, despite warnings from consumer groups that customers might lose important information.

The House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to mark up legislation doing away with the placard rule on June 27. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is taking a closer look as well and asked in a rulemaking last year whether the rule should be axed.

Lobbyists for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) are telling lawmakers that credit unions could be forced to spend up to $2,000 per machine for notices that serve no purpose.

“If a credit union is spending — as in this case — $2,000 to comply with a regulatory requirement that doesn’t benefit the consumer, that comes as a cost to them. We can’t use that $2,000 to make a loan to them,” said Ryan Donovan, CUNA’s senior vice president of legislative affairs. “That’s money we can’t use for our members.”

Consumer groups are lobbying to keep the regulation in place, saying customers need to know ATM fees before they begin a transaction on the machine.

“It’s one sure way to make sure that consumers understand the fees that are involved with the transaction,” said Pamela Banks, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union. “You should have the notice upfront before you even start the transaction.”

No matter which way lawmakers vote, the issue of ATM fees are sure to be a hot topic for customers for some time to come. Many banks and other financial institutions are evaluating programs that bundle products and services so that ATM fees are included as part of a banking package, and not a separate, stand-alone charge.

Also, an increasing number of consumers are considering the use of institutions that are part of surcharge-free ATMs networks. This topic was researched in a recent Mercator Advisory Group Research Note entitled “Surcharge-Free ATMs and Shared Branching Networks.”

Click here to read more from The Hill.