Consumer Action has supported the ACCC’s draft determination on the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) proposal to reduce ATM fees in selected very remote Indigenous communities.
Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) released research in November 2010 reporting that ATM fees were ‘having a significant and detrimental impact on Indigenous people living in remote communities’. As well as highlighting the high cost paid by residents of these communities to access their money, FCA’s report illustrated that these costs were so high because of a lack of competition. FCA found that consumers in remote communities only had access to a single ATM, and that cash withdrawals through EFTPOS transactions—a free alternative available to many Australians—were not available in these communities.
The ABA proposal is a proportionate intervention to address this failure of competition. In our view it can have little if any anti-competitive effect. We agree with the findings in ACCC’s draft determination that the benefits created by this measure will outweigh any detriment and in particular will limit the ability of traders to exploit the lack of free access to cash by charging high fees for EFTPOS withdrawals.
To read our full submission, click here: ATM fees in selected very remote Indigenous communities.