Government report criticises charging ATMs

31 March 2005
Cash machines that charge customers for withdrawing their money have earned harsh criticism in a government report published yesterday.

The Treasury Select Committee report recommended that ATMs that charge a fee should bear labels visible from a distance.

The government body also criticised the fact that many such cash machines wait until the last minute before informing customers they will be charged for the transaction, and accused the ATM operators of attempting to mislead customers by advertising 'free' balance enquiries.

The chairman of the committee, John McFall MP, told BBC News that the explosion in the number of fee-charging ATMs as "very worrying" and added that "it would be wrong if every withdrawal was to hit consumers in the pocket."

According to the report, consumers are paying £140 million a year to access their own money, with 37 per cent of cash machines now charging a fee - compared with none in 1999.

Operators pointed out that the proportion of fee-charging transactions actually carried out amounts to only about four per cent of total cash withdrawals, however.

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