President Barack Obama has a signed a new law that eliminates a requirement that banks, credit unions and other operators of ATMs give consumers two notices that a fee might or will be charged if they use the machine.
Until now, federal law has required one notice on the machine and a second notice on the screen or a paper printout. The new law eliminates the on-machine requirement, though the on-screen or on-paper requirement remains effective.
The on-screen or on-paper notice tells the consumer how much will be charged for each transaction at the ATM. However, this notice typically doesn't appear until after the consumer has interacted with the machine or begun a transaction. That means the consumer will have to walk away or cancel a transaction to avoid the fee after the notice is displayed.
Consumers typically can avoid ATM fees by using a machine operated by their own bank or credit union.
Industry groups generally supported and applauded the new law, which they said removed a regulation that was duplicative, costly and burdensome for banks, credit unions and independent ATM operators.
Bill Cheney, president of the Credit Union National Association, which represents credit unions, said in a statement that the physical signs on ATMs often were battered by the weather, defaced by vandals or removed by unscrupulous mischief-makers.
"With the imposition of this change in the law, credit unions will no longer be subject to penalties under federal law for not having the physical sign, even though the screens of their ATMs prominently and clearly displayed any fees for use of the machine," Cheney said.
Bruce Renard, executive director of the National ATM Council, a trade group of ATM operators, said in a separate statement that the so-called fee sticker on the machine no longer served a valid consumer purpose and instead had become the basis for a cottage industry of litigation against ATM operators.
How the change will affect pending lawsuits remains to be sorted out on a case-by-case basis in the courts, Renard said.
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