Dumb ATM mistake most Australians still make

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Australia’s big four banks in 2017 decided to stop charging withdrawal fees for customers of other banks, meaning a CommBank customer could withdraw money from a NAB ATM without copping that annoying $2 fee. 

But most Australians haven’t gotten the memo, new research from Finder.com.au has revealed. 

Around 11.6 million Australians, or 60 per cent of the population, aren’t aware that Westpac, ANZ, CommBank and NAB ATMS will no longer charge fees to foreign customers. There are around 7,000 fee-free ATMs across the country.

Additionally, half of Australians have been charged a withdrawal fee in the last year, while nearly one-in-10 have forked out to withdraw money more than 10 times in the last year. 

“Aussies who aren’t across the fee changes risk paying more than they have to when withdrawing cash,” Finder personal finance expert Kate Browne said.

“Even just a couple of withdrawals per month can set you back $48 dollars per year in fees. Why pay for a service that you could be getting for free?”

Finder estimates that Australians have flushed $43 million in ATM fees down the drain in the last year, based on a $2 withdrawal fee. 

“All ATMs will notify you of potential charges before you withdraw. If you don’t want to cop the fee, walk away and withdraw elsewhere,” Browne said. 

“Each of the Big Four banks enable you to locate ATMs in your area through their website. Otherwise you can withdraw cash over the counter at petrol stations or supermarkets for free.”

ATMs offer investment opportunity

Australians have used ATMs as investments. Image: Getty

The fees ATMs charge make them an attractive investment, 2019 research into self-managed super funds revealed.

The flat monthly fees and fractional transaction fees have supported retirees’ savings, although SuperConcepts analyst Phil LaGreca warned that will change as Australians shift to digital payments.

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