ATM fee cap defeated

by | Feb 14, 2014 | Biz/Tech

Aabida Dhanji
Biz/Tech Reporter

The motion to cap automated teller machine fees at 50 cents per transaction was defeated earlier this month by the ruling Conservatives.

“The NDP is always looking for ways to make life better for all Canadians,” said Etobicoke-Lakeshore NDP secretary Tim Ellis about the motion.

“Putting more money in the pockets of the average Canadian is a net boon for all involved,” said Ellis.

Two or three dollars isn’t much to a bank, but to an individual, especially those on a fixed income, it would mean a lot to lose the fees, he said.

Banks decided they will allow non-customers to obtain funds from their machines by charging a fee, but it is done as a convenience, said Maura Drew-Lytle, director of media relations and communications for the Canadian Bankers Association.

“There’s huge costs to putting these machines in place,” said Drew-Lytle in an interview with Humber News’ Joshua Sherman.

“You’ve got to buy the machine, install it, service it, keep the software updated, make sure its got cash, so there’s big expenses around running an ABM network,” she said.

She explained that the NDP’s proposal would seemingly only apply to ATM’s owned by banks, which account for only about a third of ATM’s in the country.

“The convenience fee is clearly displayed on the ATM screen during a transaction and the individual has the opportunity to either accept the fee or cancel the transactions and use one of their own bank’s ATMs,” said Drew-Lytle.

At Humber North campus, there are only two banks that have installed ATM machines, RBC and the Bank of Montreal. Students have no choice but to use one or the other.

“I don’t usually use ATM machines that are not from my bank, but when I do it would be more convenient to not have to pay the fee,” said 21-year-old Honours Bachelor of Business Administration student Dilrajpreet Singh.

“It would be an advantage for Humber students to have the ATM fees lowered because we only have RBC and BMO,” said Melissa Jones, 21, a student in the business program at University of Guelph-Humber.

Jones said she always tries to avoid using ATM machines because of the high fees. She said that the motion should be resubmitted, and that it would help out students who are already in debt.

“We feel that it’s important to make life affordable for all Canadians, not just those who happen to run major financial institutions,” said Ellis.