The UK's Link interchange ATM network has bowed to pressure and agreed a recommendation that cash machine operators must post advance warnings to consumers of withdrawal charges.
Confirmation of the proposal follows a meeting of the Link Card Scheme Development Committee (CSDC) yesterday. The CSDC has agreed to recommend to the Network Members' Council (NMC) that fee-charging machines post a clearly visible notice either on the machine or on-screen prior to card insertion bearing the message: "This machine may charge you for Link cash withdrawals".
The exact mechanism for posting messages will be agreed at the next meeting of the NMC in August with implementation no later than 1 April 2004.
The decision has been hailed as a "victory for consumers" by Nationwide Building Society, which has mounted a vigorous campaign against the charges imposed by independent network operators. Nationwide says that approximately a quarter of the machines in the Link network, or 11,000 units, charge a fee of between £1.25 and £1.50 for cash withdrawals.
Welcoming the move, Nationwide executive director Stuart Bernau adds: "There has been no final decision on how consumers will be warned about charges - a sticker or a message on the screen before the card is inserted. We favour an early warning sticker and will continue to campaign for this."