Cash machines to pay ‘thousands’ for hidden charges

The nation’s banks, building societies and other cash machine lenders are gearing up to face thousands of pounds in fines if they fail to clearly alert customers to charging machines.

From July this year, new regulations will force operators to clearly display any ATM charges before the customer inserts their card to make a withdrawal.

The move is being introduced by Link, the body which regulates cash machine providers, and comes after the Treasury Select Committee called on the big banks for clearer charges.

Typically, cash machine providers impose a charge ranging from £1.50 to £5, but some machines were exposed last year to be enforcing fees of up to £10, just so people could access their funds.

It is likely that the new regime will replace the need for legislative action from the government but it remains to be seen whether the fines will be extensive enough to satisfy members of the Treasury Select Committee.

Their cause is based upon research from Apacs - the Association of Payment Clearing Services- which predicts that more than half of all cash machines will charge for withdrawal by next year. Currently, 40 per cent of UK machines impose fees for withdrawal.

Under the new system, it is understood that NOP, the market research group, will conduct random spot checks to ensure providers are keeping to the rules.

Meanwhile, the select committee has said it will keep a “watching brief” over the issue of ATM charges, with one member citing the real-world problem of charging machines.

“I’m willing to give the industry a bit longer to sort itself out,” said Andrea Eagle, MP.

“Cash machine charges hurt some of the poorest ands most isolated people.”

It is not yet known how large the levies on cash machine providers will be if they break the new rules from July 1.


23rd May 2005

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