Forget raging about $4-a-gallon gas: $5-a-transaction ATM fees may soon become a reality. You may have heard that banks are on the defensive over a Senate proposal to limit the interchange fees banks are allowed to charge merchants per swipe: In addition to lobbying hard against the proposal, banks have also threatened to limit debit card transactions to $50 or $100.
J.P. Morgan’s retail bank, Chase, is even testing fees of $5 in Illinois and $4 in Texas for people who use a Chase ATM and aren’t a bank customer.
The fees already are big business. As Robin wrote, ATMs generated $7.1 billion in fees last year, according to consulting firm Oliver Wyman. Of that, banks collected roughly $3 billion from charging their customers for using another institution’s ATM.
So much for ATMs being labor-saving devices that cut down on banks’ need for tellers, allowing them to pass the savings along to you.™ Whether or not the transaction fee-limiting legislation passes, it seems unlikely that banks will roll jacked-up ATM fees back anytime soon.
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