Atm Fees. An Overview

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Automatic teller machine (ATM) fee is charged by banks and ATM operators when customers withdraw cash at ATMs. There are two types of charges: operator charges (direct client fees, or access fees), the operator of a machine requires from the customer for each withdrawal transaction.

While the card-issuing bank charges the customer normal card transaction fees. Consumer advocates criticize interchange fees required by the machine operators of the card-issuing bank.


In Germany, ATM operators entered into an agreement with the Central Credit Committee. As such automated teller machine operators in Germany may require the card-issuing bank to levy an interchange fee in any amount.

In recent years, interbank rates have risen significantly, as a result the banks always require higher transaction fees from their customers. The banks then agreed on system changes from 2011.

From then on, the interchange fees should be abolished and replaced by a free-definable operators charge that appears on the screen when a customer a undertakes a withdrawal. This is will most likely trigger a price competition among the financial institutions.

Post booking fees for using ATMs are not subject to judicial control because they compensate for the special benefit of credit control, and withdrawals are available around the clock.


Withdrawals are free of charge for holders of a Finnish bank card or VISA Electron card at any ATM of the brand “Otto”, which constitutes the largest ATM network in Finland.


Since 3 March 2009, ATM operators in Australia can charge customers for direct transactions. The Australian central bank anticipates enhancement of efficiency in the Australian ATM system with the new development.

Most banks (Commonwealth Bank (CBA), Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac / St.George) collect an ATM service fee of two Australian dollars for withdrawals and balance inquiries for external customers. Independent operators also charge slightly higher fees for sites in pubs and clubs.

United States

Before 1988, there were no direct charges by ATM operators in the United States, and when they were implemented, the operator charges amounted to about one U.S. dollar (pre-1996), according to a study by the state consumer organization Public Interest Research Group.

As banks and operators recognized the profit potential from ATMs, they raised the fees. In 2003, the operator charges amounted to $2, but can go up to $6 in locations such as bars and casinos. In cases where both the card-issuing bank and the machine operators (direct customer charges) must be paid, the total load for the customer can add up to eleven dollars.

Independent operators (independent sales organizations (ISOs)) are the driving force behind the setting up of more and more ATM in the U.S. – they currently operate over 60% of the 396 000 ATMs (and growing).

There are concerns that the U.S. market is saturated, so much that a profitable operation is harder to attain. Other media reports indicate that growth in ATM usage has decreased, possibly in relation to the amount of fees imposed by banks.

A new consideration given in the market is the rejection of consideration (denial fee), if a customer wants to withdraw more money than his account balance or limit.


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