Commonwealth Bank axes ATM fees

Matt Comyn, group executive, retail banking services, said Australians had complained for some time about being charged fees for using another bank's ATM. Photo: Louie Douvis

Matt Comyn, group executive, retail banking services, said Australians had complained for some time about being charged fees for using another bank's ATM. Photo: Louie Douvis

The Commonwealth Bank has become the first bank to axe fees for customers of other institutions using its ATMs to withdraw cash.

"Australians have complained for some time about being charged fees for using another bank's ATM," CBA's group executive, retail banking services, Matt Comyn, said in a statement on Sunday.

"As Australia's largest bank, with one of the largest branch and ATM networks, we think this change will benefit many Australians and hopefully demonstrate our willingness to listen and act on customer feedback."

Reserve Bank of Australia data shows Australians made more than 250 million ATM withdrawals from banks other than their own last year.

CBA will ditch the $2 withdrawal fee for customers of other banks at its 3400 CommBank-branded ATMs. Bankwest ATMs and customers using overseas cards will still attract a fee.

ATM withdrawals have been steadily declining for several years now, but until recently the number of machines around the country had continued grow.

Banks and other owners of ATMs have said their returns from the machines are being crunched, as they spend more money on maintaining machines that are being used less. 

According to RBA data released in March, ATM withdrawals have slumped to their lowest levels in 15 years amid the wider shift towards a cashless economy.

The number of ATM withdrawals in January fell by 7.7 per cent compared to last year. It follows two consecutive years of ATM withdrawals falling by more than 6 per cent.

The move by CBA comes after the bank was embroiled in a scandalrelating to alleged breaches of money laundering laws after allowing thousands of large cash deposits to wash through its ATMs.

Austrac last month said it was taking action against CBA, alleging "serious and systemic non-compliance" with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act.

Sydney Morning Herald with AAP

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