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Thursday, February 03, 2005 

I'll be taking these Huggies and whatever cash ya got

Strange Thing #26: Fee-less ATMs (or cashpoints or hole-in-the-walls as they are called here.)

Meaning, if I use another bank's ATM, I am not monetarily raped. I can use my Natwest card at any other bank that is not Natwest for free . This is astounding to me, and unheard of in the States. There, I had Bank of America. If I used a non-Bank of America ATM, that ATM would charge me US$2 just for the pleasure of walking up and putting my card in. Then BofA would charge me another US$2 for not using their ATM. So the entire transaction would cost four dollars. What a waste.

Freedom really is a beautiful thing. *sniff*

yeah...that all changed back in '96 or '97 when the banking industry lobby got into the pocket of Congress and legislated that the convenience charge was legal...You just have to love how legislation is for sale!! Democracy in the US ended a long, long time ago...

There's quite a bit of history on the whole ATM charging thing here. It used to be that your bank would charge you a disloyalty fee for using another bank's ATM (at least, the English banks did, the Scottish ones never did) but the ATM itself was free. Then in 2000 or so, Barclays suddenly started charging customers of other banks to use its ATMs - hence the US style double-charging thing. There was a predictably massive uproar (as there always is when The Great British Public is presented with change.) Getting hit with all the negative publicity, Barclays scrapped the charge, but the industry was shaken and conducted a review. The outcome of that was that the disloyalty fees were dropped. For a couple of years we were all happy with our free machines, but quietly, the "convienience" machines have started appearing everywhere, run by non-banks, and charging £1.50 or so. Soon, we'll be on the US model.

(There's more background here.)

I need help, e-mail me.


P.S. By the way, have you gotten the postcards that I mailed you?

Strange thing #403....Shut up.

You got a table and chairs, you gotta dinette set. You gotta table and no chairs, you got dick!

Ollie's right about British ATMs introducing charges - and it's not just the non-bank (convenience-store type) ATMs, nor is Scotland free from them; I seem to recall my mother getting a very nasty shock when finding her Bank of Scotland card incurs charges to take money out of a Royal Bank of Scotland ATM.

Meanwhile, some banks in the US do provide fee-free ATM usage - mostly the ones without their own large ATM networks, for obvious reasons: turn their weakness (their customers can't find their own ATMs) into a strength (use ANY ATM you like anyway). Nice.

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