Banks to display extra ATM fees
Starting Friday at midnight, cash machines in Germany will display the extra fees customers of rival banks are charged when making withdrawals, allowing them to abort the transaction.
This weekend will hopefully mark the end of spiralling ATM charges following months of haggling between banks, consumer associations and government officials.
The cost for each withdrawal at a non-affiliated bank will displayed on the screen so that customers can decide whether they wish to pay up, or shop around by finding a cheaper option elsewhere. ATMs not yet updated will have a warning sticker.
However, there is not yet one uniform fee policy for all banks. Charges will vary depending on whether a withdrawal is made at a large private bank or a co-operative banks like Volksbank and savings bank such as Sparkasse.
The CashGroup (Postbank, Deutsche Bank, HypoVereinsbank, Commerzbank) will now charge a maximum of €1.95 for withdrawing money from an ATM run by the banks in group.
Savings and co-operative banks, which have the largest network of ATMs in Germany, have refused to follow the private banks and will be able to fix their own fees for non-customer withdrawals. Most Sparkasse branches are expected to charge between €3.50 and €5.
The move also marks a change to the cash machine fee system. Previously, the bank managing each ATM invoiced other banks with the cost of the withdrawal, who then charged their customers through their accounts. Under the new system, the cost to the customer comes directly at the moment they withdraw their cash.
Previously, banks had been heavily criticized by consumer advocates for charging as much as €10 per withdrawal by customers belonging to rival financial institutions.