Automatic teller machines have become a way of life over the years, and the scrapping of ATM fees for customers of other institutions by Australia’s four biggest banks over the weekend has raised many a cynical eyebrow.
We’ve all had to do it at some point and felt horrible about it.
The screen asks if you are willing to pay the extra $2 to withdraw money, you stare at it blankly, knowing full well you were being held hostage, close your eyes and press the “yes” button.
If you were withdrawing $20 this was an excruciating 10 per cent extra charge.
The culling of the fee is long overdue.
Some say it shows the beginning of the end for ATMs with predictions of a cashless society. But this is a long way off in the Bega Valley where you more often than not need cash to shop, and are often forced to buy at least $10 worth of goods to use a plastic bank card.
Others feel the ”big four”, as they have become known, are doing what they can to avoid a royal commission.
The Reserve Bank of Australia’s website states the fees “addressed the Bank's concern that the availability of ATMs might be reduced if the fees received by ATM owners could not reflect the cost of providing ATM services, particularly in more costly and lower-volume locations”.
According to the RBA, Australians made more than 250 million withdrawals from ATMs last year which would have incurred the fee.
With the fee now scrapped, Australians will still pay over $4billion a year in other banking fees.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia was the first to make the announcement, the same bank which APRA has launched an independent prudential inquiry into governance, culture and accountability into.
Is it all about image? or do they really care about low-income families?
Originally seen as a way of providing cash after hours and when banks were shut, the first “Computer Loan Machine" was installed in Japan in 1966.
Now, 50 years later, we have cryptocurrency, blockchains and peer-to-peer technology, putting the challenge to retail banks.
Much has changed since the first ATM, and with a push for a royal commission into the banking sector, and confidence in retail banks possibly at its lowest ever in Australia, many may now be Googling cryptocurrency.