1506328851480 - Customer asks: Why aren’t NZ banks cutting ATM fees, too?

Customer asks: Why aren’t NZ banks cutting ATM fees, too?

Manawatu man Lewin Dickson wants to know when his bank is going to follow Australia’s lead and cut the fee it charges for customers using other banks’ ATMs.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia was the first to change, making an announcement on Sunday that it would axe the A$2 ($2.20) fee that applied to any user who was not using a CommBank key card.

Westpac, ANZ and National Australian Bank followed suit later in the day.

All four banks cited the unpopularity of the fee with consumers, who were forking out A$500 million a year for withdrawing their own cash.

READ MORE: Banks in Australia to scrap ATM fees

But so far, New Zealand banks aren’t taking the same action.  The fee they charge was doubled in 2008.

The main banks now each charge $1 whenever a customer uses another bank’s ATM. In some cases, it is one of the few fees applied to transaction accounts.

ATM use has been dropping as people move to cashless transactions, although some banks have started to replace teller services with “smart ATMs” that can carry out more functions.

Dickson said it was unfair for the fee to remain. He has written to his bank, Kiwibank, to ask for its plans. “I often find it frustrating trying to find my bank’s ATMs when out of town.”

A spokesman for Kiwibank said it would not cut the fee “at this time”.

Westpac said it was watching the Australian developments with interest.

“We need to consider the charging arrangements between banks in New Zealand which are very different to those in Australia, and certainly more complex.

“We’re always looking for ways to better meet the needs of our customers. This year we removed or reduced 11 banking fees in direct response to customer feedback, ensuring our fees are fair and easy to understand.”

ASB said it was aware of the move in Australia. “We regularly review our products and services in response to customer preferences.”

BNZ and ANZ have not yet responded to a request for comment. 

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