Experts warn banks might introduce new fees to make up ATM loss

The major banks’ move to scrap ATM fees has been welcomed by customers, but experts have warned there might be more going on.

Australians are still paying $4.4 billion annually in banking fees, mostly linked to home loans and credit cards.

Fees for the latter in the past 12 months total $1.56 billion.

Commentator and independent financial journalist Michael West said the move was “good PR”.

“(The banks) needed some good media and this provided the perfect opportunity because ATMs are not a growth business,” he said.

“This is a business they’d be getting out of at some point.”

Nine Network finance editor Ross Greenwood said ATM usage was already at 15-year-lows.

“There’s clearly an incentive for the banks overall to cut the number of ATMS out there in total,” he said.

“That saves them money.”

Mr West said there were “plenty of places” banks could make up for any financial loss.

“They spend millions of dollars on consultants to tell them where they can charge more fees,” he said.

“That’s the game, how much can you charge in fees without losing your customer.”

Former Queensland Premier and Australian Bankers Association CEO Anna Bligh said banks were “acutely aware” of their poor public image.

“Customers can easily look at their own bank statements, and they’ll know if anything untoward has happened,” she said.

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2017

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