I'm Jason Cameron, Savings & Loans' senior manager of Product and Research. Among other things, my job involves developing the products we offer our members - things like the types of loans we offer, the features of savings accounts, etc.
From today, there are changes to the way ATMs are used and operated in Australia with the introduction of ‘direct charging’. You may have seen some media articles about the changes, most of which focus on the possibility of fee increases rather than the positives for consumers.
In a nutshell, the introduction of ‘direct charging’ means that you’ll have greater control over how much you pay for using an ATM.
Here’s how the system works at the moment:
• A Savings & Loans member uses a non rediATM or ‘foreign’ ATM (for example, one owned by another financial institution or in a hotel)
• The ATM owner charges Savings & Loans for our member’s use of the ATM
• Savings & Loans charges our member $2 to offset the charge to us
And here’s how things will work from today:
• A Savings & Loans member uses a non rediATM or ‘foreign’ ATM
• After the member enters their PIN and selects the transaction they wish to perform, a message on the screen will tell them how much the ATM owner will charge for the transaction (known as the ‘direct charge’)
• The member then has the option of paying the fee or cancelling the transaction at no cost
• If the member proceeds with the transaction, the direct charge will be incurred and Savings & Loans charges 50c to cover the cost to us of processing the transaction
• There will be no standard direct charge fee for using a foreign ATM – it will be up to the owner of the ATM to decide the fee for using any particular machine
So the changes actually give consumers more choice and control over how much they pay in ATM fees.
I don’t think we’ll see any big changes to how much people pay to use an ATM. Importantly, it has let us reduce our non rediATM fee from $2 to 50c.
The most important thing to remember is that these changes only apply to foreign ATMs. If you’re a Savings & Loans member then you have access to over 1,300 rediATMs without incurring any direct charging fees (of course, your fee category and other usage will impact your transaction fees).
If you haven’t already noticed, ATMs branded with the Savings & Loans name and logo are being replaced by rediATMs. This will make it simple for our members to know which ATMs they’ll be able to use without being impacted by direct charging.
Credit unions are working together to expand the rediATM network, especially in areas where there isn’t a great deal of choice. If you don’t have a rediATM near you, either at home or when out and about, here are some other ways to keep fees low:
• Use EFTPOS to make a purchase and get some cash out at the same time. Some retailers even allow cash withdrawals via EFTPOS without a purchase of goods.
• Pay with your Visa Debit or Visa Care Card and select the ‘Credit’ option.
Credit unions around Australia will be adding more rediATMs over the coming months, so keep an eye on the Savings & Loans website for locations.
We have reviewed the non-rediATM fee and will reduce it further, to 25c per transaction, from 11 March.