Banks stop declining but charge extra fees
Grant Gillon MP Sun Aug 29 1999
The Alliance has revealed that banks are charging customers $15 if they exceed their EFTPOS limit rather than declining their transactions and says that Banks should display bank charges at the point of sale.
A new system has been installed that instead of declining transactions if sufficient funds are not available, it will allow the transaction and add a $15 overdraft fee.
'Most people think that if they are at their credit limit the machines will decline their purchase. But banks are now automatically allowing these withdrawals and adding a $15 fee per transaction.
'In these days of electronic commerce it is so easy to use EFTPOS cards without knowing what the balance of your account is. Especially since you cannot check your account balance from an EFTPOS machine.
'Banks should inform people of this charge at the point of sale. People have the right to know that the milk and paper they have bought through EFTPOS might be costing them a $15 fee.
'Before wacking hefty fees on customers banks should warn them. We have the technology to do this so why is it not being used? Every time money is removed from an ATM or EFTPOS the system should tell the customer what the fee is.
'Westpac's claims their extra fees for using competitor's money machines is designed to modify their behaviour and get them to use Westpac's machines.
'The best way to modify behaviour is to tell people when they are making a decision, not at the end of the month in a lump sum bank fee,' Grant Gillon said.