Believe it or not, sometimes I blog about things other than transport. If you want to look purely at transport posts, try this link.
Commonwealth Bank (CBA) announced on 24th September that all their ATMs were free for use by customers of any Australian bank.
The same day, the rest of the Big 4 scrambled, and matched that pledge… but CBA had the jump on them, and some of the others couldn’t implement it straight away.
Over the past few weeks, they’ve got it done, so ATMs are fee-free for all Australian cardholders since:
- CBA since 24th September 2017
- ANZ since 9th October 2017
- Westpac since 5th October 2017 — includes St George, Bank Of Melbourne and BankSA ATMs
- NAB since 13th October 2017
(By the way, ANZ loses points here. Not only does their press release not specify the date the fees are waived (it just says “early October 2017”) it’s also on a horrible web site that forces you to download a PDF, rather than simply viewing the content on a web page. It’s also amusing that both ANZ and NAB still have the media parts of their web site not using HTTPS. You’d think banks would be more security-conscious.)
It’s not hard to see why the banks are making their ATMs free. Effectively it lets them consolidate their ATM networks, when the use of cash is dropping. In my suburb, CBA, ANZ, Westpac, NAB and Bank Of Melbourne all have a presence; I haven’t counted, but probably about 8 ATMs between them, within a few hundred metres.
So does this change mean all ATMs are free for all Australian cardholders? No! Some to watch out for:
- Bankwest ATMs, prominent in 7-11s, are not free except for customers of Bankwest and CBA — despite being a CBA subsidiary. (It appears non-7-11 Bankwest machines will be made free, but I can’t find official info on Bankwest’s web site)
- Other minor smaller financial institutions such as Bendigo Bank and Suncorp
- Minor ATM brands such as Banktech and CardTronics — hardly surprising they’ll continue to charge. Presumably that’s how they make money.
- RediATMs that are not at NAB branches — see below
I was initially confused by RediATM (owned by Financial company Cuscal). NAB ATMs seem to include RediATM branding, but RediATM appears to have a wider network. RediATM’s web site says institutions in their partner network have free access, but their FAQs say:
Yes, anyone can use a rediATM as long as your card is accepted, although you will be charged a direct charge fee. To avoid a direct charge fee at a rediATM, your financial institution must be partner of the rediATM network.
NAB has confirmed that RediATM-branded machines at NAB branches are really NAB machines, and are free forall Australian cards:
Hi Daniel. These ones are NAB ATMs so they are part of the fee-free change ^HR
— NAB (@NAB) November 9, 2017
ATMs have been around for a long time. Check this video from 1969 when they were first devised:
Initially the waiving of fees looks like a win for cardholders, at least Australian ones.
I’m certainly using a lot less cash than I used to, thanks largely to Paypass, so I’m not at all surprised the banks are making moves to reduce the number of ATMs.