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Banks jack up ATM fees for non-customers

DPA/The Local · 3 Sep 2015, 10:33

Published: 03 Sep 2015 10:33 GMT+02:00

For the past five years, it has cost non-customers €1.95 to withdraw cash from a different private bank's machine.

But Deutsche Bank and subsidiary Postbank have been charging €3.95 for the same service from September 1st.

Commerzbank will increase charges to €3.90 from October and some publicly-owned Sparkasse banks and co-operatives are also charging up to €4.50.

"Withdrawals themselves don't even cost one Euro," finance expert Frank-Christian Pauli of the National Federation of Consumer Rights Centres criticized.

But a Commerzbank spokeswoman said that "costs have risen and we can't offer [the service] for lower than the market rate."

A survey of 250 German banks by financial advice company FMH found that the average charge for non-customers to withdraw cash was €3.93.

'Maintaining ATMs is expensive'

Private banks had voluntarily kept their withdrawal fees low for five years despite failing to come to an agreement with Sparkasse and co-operative banks, who didn't want to set a ceiling for fees – saying that it cost them a lot of money to maintain their dense network of ATMs.

Sparkasse banks have the densest network of ATMs in Germany with around 25,000 machines, while co-operative banks (Volksbanks and Raffeisenbanks) have a total of 19,600.

By comparison, the Cash Group – Detusche Bank, Commerzbank, HypoVereinsbank and Postbank, who allow one another's customers to make withdrawals for free – have just 9,000 cashpoints.

Story continues below…

"It would be in the interests of all customers if German banks could set aside their old dispute and find an appropriate compromise on costs," Pauli said.

The four- or five-Euro fees charged for the usually relatively small amounts consumers withdraw at other banks' machines are "inappropriately high", he said.

SEE ALSO: Little by little, Germans move away from cash

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DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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