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Banking inquiry points to lack of ATM competition

11 November 2009 Media Statement
EMBARGOED UNTIL WEDNESDAY 9.30am NOVEMBER 11 2009

Banking inquiry points to lack of competition in ATM market

Australians have twice as many ATMs per head of population compared to New Zealand, and the gap is growing because of the lack of competition in the ATM market, says Managing Director of ATM Plus Limited, David Dickinson.

A group of companies who distribute independent ATMs made a submission to the Parliamentary Banking Inquiry in September and welcomed the release of the final report today which highlighted the lack of competition in the ATM market, and called for “a full review of competitive conditions in the New Zealand banking industry.”

“We want to go where the big banks don’t go; into small towns, rural communities, even on the interisland ferry and Invercargill Airport. But ASB and ANZ National banks won’t let their customers use their cards in our machines, and they have 40% of the ATM market between them.

“It seems unfair not to let their customers have the same convenience that every other New Zealander enjoys.”

Kiwibank, Westpac, BNZ, TSB, SBS Bank and Rabobank all let their customers use independent ATMs. Rural communities are particularly badly affected by the lack of competition because Eftpos is not an adequate substitute for an ATM. For example, tourists cannot get money out of Eftpos from Visa and Mastercard. Neither can New Zealanders get a balance on Eftpos before they purchase anything.

“The irony is that ANZ National and ASB parent banks have no problem allowing their customers to use the thousands of non-bank ATMs in Australia.

“Donʼt their Kiwi customers deserve the same treatment?”

“We believe there is more room for growth and competition in the market, but at present we are unable to increase the number of ATMs in New Zealand because of the behaviour of ASB and ANZ National banks.”

The Reserve Bank of Australia oversees regulation to make access to ATMs open at competitive fees which are transparent to the customer. Independent ATMs in New Zealand display the fee for using the machine on the screen before customers get their cash, so they can chose whether or not to proceed. This is now standard practice for all ATMs in Australia, but fees are still hidden by many other cash machines in New Zealand.

“New Zealanders deserve the same treatment as Australian customers, and we support the Banking Inquiry’s call to involve the Reserve Bank here in a full review of banking regulations and monetary policy,” says David Dickinson.

Quote from the Report of the Parliamentary Banking Inquiry, 11 November 2009

‘5.5 Competition:

A submission was received from a group of companies distributing independent ATMs, with the aim of increasing competition in the ATM market. Independent ATM companies are willing to provide machines in rural areas not serviced by individual banks; however they require each bank to allow their cardholders to access the machines. Currently two major banks have not allowed this, preventing their customers from accessing independent machines.’

ENDS

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