FAMILIES will be hit hard by new increases in ATM fees, which came into effect yesterday.
It could now cost bank customers up to $5 each time they use a different bank's ATM.
Manager of the Ballina Byron Family Centre, Trish Milgate, said low-income earners would struggle as a result of the fee hike.
“The bottom line is that many of our families don't have a lot of money,” she said.
“Any increase in their bank fees is going to have a significant impact on their savings.
“They already live from one pay to the next.
“Sometimes a family might only have $5 or $2 left over in their bank account. These new fees could take away their milk money. Anything that isn't in their budget really hurts.
“People will now be forced to draw out large amounts of cash at a time and that will put them at risk.”
Under the changes, which have been endorsed by the Reserve Bank of Australia, bank customers could be charged twice for using 'foreign' ATMs - by their own bank and by the owner of the ATM.
Among those charging the new fee is National Australia Bank, which will charge customers 50c each time they use another bank's ATM. It is understood the Commonwealth Bank and ANZ will not charge the extra fee.
But NAB, Westpac and St George will continue to charge foreign ATM fees.
Australian Bankers' Association chief executive David Bell said customers needed to understand how to minimise fees.
“The cheapest option will be to find your own bank's or a networked ATM,” he said.
“Customers have a choice and it might be as easy as walking around the corner to find your own bank's ATM.”
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