Withdrawals from cash pointsTaskforce to probe cash machines charges

05 May 2006

A taskforce has been set up to look into cash-machine charges and how they affect UK consumers.

Withdrawing cash from a cashpoint

It has six months to assess the impact of fees and the quality of signs used to warn customers that they face a charge to withdraw money.

The move follows a government summit on ATMs and the taskforce - headed by Treasury Select Committee Chairman John McFall - will involve input from banks and consumer groups including Which?.

The number of ATMs charging fees has risen sharply in recent years to around 40 per cent of the entire UK network, with typical fees around GBP 1.50 for each withdrawal.

A Which? News survey found that almost half of bank customers are confused about whether they can use the Big Four banks' cashpoints for free.

Clear symbols

Ninety five per cent also thought that no bank or building society should charge anyone to use its cashpoints. The same number wanted all cash machines to make clear, before you put your card in, whether there would be a charge.

Which? has long called for machines to be labelled with clear symbols so you can see upfront whether you'll be charged.

As well as making sure that charges are clear and fully transparent, Which? is also concerned about the lack of free cash machines in many local communities around the country.

Treasury Select Committee Chairman John McFall said: 'The Committee supports the idea of standardised labelling for free and surcharging machines to help consumers to see at a glance whether a machine is free or charging. This would give consumers complete clarity on whether they will be charged or not.

'I want to work with the banks, charging operators and consumer groups to develop proposals for standardised labelling and to resolve the issue.'