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Australia's Big Four banks abolish ATM charges

Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia have become the latest in the country to abolish ATM fees for people who want to withdraw cash from one of their machines but aren't a customer of the bank itself.

This means that all of Australia's so-called Big Four banks will no longer be charging customers who want to use their ATMs, making them more accessible and potentially widening the reach of the brands.

Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank join the National Australia Bank and the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group in removing the $2 charges that many consumers are faced with when wanting to take cash out of their ATMs.

Typically, these extra fees have applied to customers outside of each banking group, leading them to be dubbed the 'foreign ATM fee', with the whole concept proving very unpopular with consumers.

Therefore, abolishing these fees will go some way towards making the country more welcoming towards international tourists and business investors from overseas who need to withdraw cash during their stay down under.

George Frazis, consumer group executive at Westpac, commented: "This will make it more convenient for millions of Australians to conveniently obtain cash, with no additional fees. It will particularly assist Australians in rural and regional areas.

"We understand that the 'foreign ATM' fee has been deeply unpopular with consumers. Along with our new low interest credit card, as well as removing teller sales incentives, Westpac is listening and responding to consumer concerns."

The actions of the Big Four have been applauded by Australia's treasurer Scott Morrison, who heralded this as a "positive initiative" that "puts customers first".

Getting rid of these charges means that Australians will save a collective $500 million per year, according to News Corp Australia. Typically, female customers and millennials have been most likely to pay the fees, which are applied to 40 per cent of the nation's 50 million monthly ATM transactions.

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