Westpac ups ante in Australian ATM fees wrangle

Westpac ups ante in Australian ATM fees wrangle

Westpac is to disclose a fee warning for non-Westpac customers at all of its cash machines, and is calling on other Australian banks to follow its lead.

The bank aims to roll out the warning message to its ATMs before the end of June 2001.

The move follows a recent Westpac announcement that it would push for a cost-based pricing system that could result in significant reductions when consumers use an ATM other than their own bank (known as the foreign ATM fee). Currently foreign ATM fees are set by a customer's bank. Under Westpac's proposal the organisation that owns the ATM will directly charge and set the fee, resulting in increased competition and lower prices.

The latest move follows the release last year of a best-practice fee disclosure table which is now sent out on the back of bank statements to Westpac customers.

"All these initiatives are designed to help customers cut the cost of their banking," says Michael Hawker, group executive, Australian business and personal banking. "We want all customers to be aware of how they can save money and we're hoping all our competitors will announce similar measures," he says.

He says Westpac will lobby other banks through its participation in the Australian Securities and Investment Commissions' fee disclosure working group.

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