Australians wasting $43 million every year in ATM fees.
Australians wasting $43 million every year in ATM fees.

’Lazy’ $43M ATM mistake we’re making

A SURVEY by Finder has found Australians are paying unnecessary ATM fees considering that the major banks axed the charges in 2017.

The Finder survey revealed 60 per cent of Australians, equivalent to 11.6 million people, were unaware that the big four - ANZ, NAB, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank - had ditched their ATM fees.

The ATM fee policies for all the majors changed in 2017 and even people who bank with other institutions can now use any of the big four's ATMs without a charge.

Despite this, one in two Aussies think they've been charged an ATM fee over the past 12 months.

Based off ATM fees of $2, Finder has conservatively estimated that in 12 months Australians have wasted $43 million on withdrawal fees.

It means that Australians are giving away their money to non-bank aligned ATMs typically found at service stations and corner stores.

Personal finance expert at Finder Kate Browne said confusion was still prevalent among Australians.

"Aussies who aren't across the fee changes risk paying more than they have to when withdrawing cash," she 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?"

The big four have the most ATMs and all offer free withdrawals.
The big four have the most ATMs and all offer free withdrawals.

Ms Browne labelled the ATM fees as a "lazy tax" and said all ATMs notified users of potential charges, so all Aussies who see the warning should walk away and withdraw elsewhere.

"Each of the big four banks enable you to locate ATMs in your area through their website," she said.

Another option was to withdraw cash when checking out at your local supermarket or petrol station, she said.

Ms Browne offered other tips to avoid fees, starting with the easiest one - opening a fee-free account.

"Many banks offer transaction accounts that come with fee-free withdrawals for cardholders," she said.

"Make sure you're across any account terms and conditions to ensure you're eligible each month."

For Australians who travel overseas, Ms Browne said that they should check the Finder Global Alliance guide.

"Cardholders who are part of the Westpac Group (Bank of Melbourne, Bank SA and St George) can make free withdrawals at a number of international ATMS," she said.

Many other banks also had global alliances and consumers should find out what banks are compatible when travelling overseas.