Beware of withdrawing money from third-party ATMs: the commission to be paid will not be fixed until January 1

Bank commissions are a permanent battle between entity and client. The first one aims to increase revenues and improve margins, and the second, that the management of your money has no cost. In recent years, it has also become a fundamental pillar for banks that want to attract new clients and retain their loyalty, and in this sense, a voracious competition has been unleashed. There are already many accounts or cards whose administration is free.

But the fight has gone further in 2015 with the commissions in the ATMs. Caixabank , which has the largest number of ATMs – 21% of the total – unleashed the conflict in March by announcing that it would charge 2 euros to those who used their terminals to withdraw money and were not customers . This cost involved a double commission, since the bank issuing the card also applied the corresponding withholding.

The new regulatory framework does not set a maximum or minimum for tariffs . From that moment on, there was a chain reaction in the sector. BBVA and Santander said they would do the same , other entities agreed on alliances so as not to harm the client and so on until the government decided to take action on the matter just a few weeks ago, through the approval of a royal decree law.

The Executive prohibits the double commission when recognizing that it supposes “an increase of the commissions supported by the banking clients by this concept that in some case was superior to 100%”. In addition, it considers of vital importance and of urgent necessity to recover the confidence of the consumers within a process of recovery in which the Spanish economy is immersed.

After the government’s resolution, the scenario changes for everyone. The crux of the matter is that the commission does not disappear as such. “With this new regulation, the entity that owns the ATM will not be able to demand any cost from the user of the service or pass it on to them, but it will be able to demand it from the issuer of the card.” Entities will be able to reach agreements to fix the amount. , the owners of the ATMs will determine in a non-discriminatory way between entities what they will charge by default to the issuing entities of the cards “.

The financial sector argues that it requires large investments in technological infrastructure for its terminals and that one way to make them profitable is to charge non-customers for their use. This is what the law says, which, in a simpler way, assumes that a person that uses a different ATM to those that have the entity that delivered the credit or debit card must pay a single rate and that the amount will depend on the agreement that is established between entities -the owner of the terminal and the client- and the decisions that are also made individually.

The financial sector argues that it requires large investments in technological infrastructure for its terminals and that one way to make them profitable is to charge non-customers for their use. Therefore, ATM owners will continue to put a price on the use of their services, but will require it to the entity that issued the card, and it will decide whether to transfer the total or partial cost to the user.

Resolution in January

At this moment a period is open for consultations, studies and analysis of possible alliances between banks and ATM networks that must be completed before January 1, 2016, the date on which the new commission model will begin to be applied, once again the computer systems are modified.

For the Government it is a structure that will be more advantageous for the client by increasing competitiveness in the sector. The problem is that the new regulatory framework does not set a maximum or minimum for tariffs. At the moment, some reactions have already taken place. Caixabank immediately eliminated – after knowing the decree law – the direct payment of the 2 euros to non-customers that had been applied since last March. For its part, BBVA and Santander withdrew their intention to follow in the footsteps of the Catalan entity.

It remains to see what happens finally with the alliance established by Bankia, Sabadell and some entities integrated in the Euro 6000 network, among which are Unicaja, Liberbank or Kutxabank, not to pass on any surcharge to users; they even weighed the possibility of lowering current rates.

On the other hand, Bankinter and Popular also studied joining the Euro 6000 alliance and now it is not ruled out that other parallel actions with the big entities may arise. Meanwhile , ING , which does not have ATMs and its main claim is the absence of commissions on all its products, has expressed its concern to Brussels . For the moment, it has reached an agreement with Popular to use its machines without surcharge.

Caixabank unleashed the conflict in March by announcing that it would charge 2 euros to those who use its terminals to withdraw money and were not EVO customers , in a similar situation to ING, has agreed, however, to return “in full” what the terminals charge of other entities in national territory if 120 euros or more are withdrawn with your debit card. Banco Mediolanum also grants 52 withdrawals in cash with their cards totally free.

The linking of the client will be key in this process. Those who have more products contracted, more advantages will obtain. Sabadell, for example, will not apply any fees to customers of the Expansion Account who withdraw money at the ATMs that make up the national network. The condition is that the amount is greater than 60 euros. This account requires a minimum monthly income of 700 euros. Young people between 18 and 25 years can also enjoy this advantage, in addition to others offered by the account, without any condition.

Therefore, we must pay close attention to the resolution adopted by each of the entities. It is convenient to know the agreements that are reached and the details of the rates that will be applied in order to avoid problems.

Adicae, the Association of Users of Banks and Savings Banks, has celebrated the Government’s decision to eliminate double commission, a fact that has been described as “consumer success”. The agency warns, on the other hand, of the risk that exists of a possible generalized increase in rates, an aspect that will closely monitor. “The association will remain alert, with thousands of consumers who will collaborate in the surveillance work, to prevent the new standard from deriving as of January 2016 in unacceptable increases in the cost that users finally bear ,” he said in a statement. press.

The banks must report annually to the Bank of Spain on the commissions. Adicae estimates that if the double commission had been maintained, the banks would have received 180 million euros for this practice. Now, among its objectives is the claim that Caixabank return the more than 16 million euros that in his opinion charged directly to those who used their ATMs without being customers since last March and until the Government approved the new regulatory framework .

Spain is one of the European countries with the highest activity in banking terminals. According to government data, 74% of the operations carried out are cash withdrawals. At the end of the first half of this year, more than 50,400 machines were counted, representing 1.09 per 1,000 inhabitants, “a figure much higher than that of other countries in our environment,” the executive said in the royal decree. It sets, on the other hand, at almost 18,000 the number of cash withdrawal operations per machine per year. In 2014, a total of 907 million were recorded.

From now on, banks must report annually to the Bank of Spain about the fees they apply in the ATMs. This will generate a joint cost of 32,400 euros, at a rate of 100 euros per entity and year, according to the Government.