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Australias ATM-fee reg prompts boycott of banks
SYDNEY, Australia (3/16/10)--Less than one year ago, new regulations went into effect requiring Australia's credit unions and other financial institutions to display their ATM fees on screen. In January, Australian consumers made six million fewer transactions at "foreign" ATMs than they did in January 2009. Overall ATM withdrawals are down a record 6.9% from a year ago, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia (Sunday Telegraph March 14). The number of withdrawals at "own bank" ATMs rose slightly while "other bank" ATM withdrawals dropped 18%. The data was released Friday as some Cashcard ATMs hiked their fee to $2.50 for a single transaction. The standard fee for foreign ATMs has been $2 since the reforms became effective. Consumers are shunning ATMs due to high fees, fear of scams and convenience, say analysts. Many are withdrawing extra cash at the point of sale when they shop. Once fees become transparent, consumers became more conscious about paying them and they voted with their feet, said Christopher Zinn, a spokesman for Choice, a consumer advocate group. Australians used ATMs more almost 66 million times in January 2010.


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