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ATM fee notice fades away

By Marcie Geffner ·
Monday, January 14, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

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.

Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff.

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Robert Hoose
January 15, 2013 at 9:43 am

As a Presdent, your job is too please the american people, not to yourself, you work for us, we pay you, we a american do not work for you, WISE-UP !!!!

January 15, 2013 at 8:55 am

I was guilty of it too until I read the article carefully. The fee disclosure is still disclosed on-screen and on-paper (on receipt). You will still be given an option to cancel the transaction after you see what the ATM fee is on-screen.

What is being taken away are the physical signs - which they talk about being battered by weather, defaced by vandals, etc.

And...if they ever got to the point of not disclosing an ATM fee at all (plus the additional charge your bank will hit you with) - the popular cash back option at a grocery store for even a small purchase as a pack of gum or beverage would become a very nice alternative.

January 15, 2013 at 6:17 am

well if your with bank of america besides the store amt chargeing you $2.00 the bank of america charge you $2.00.

January 15, 2013 at 6:09 am

To Lisa. People's cash benefits are on the same card as the food stamp benefit. They are not getting cash for food stamps. So to implement that when you use your atm card they should take an extra $0.50 for every dollar you spend and put it in a fund. Know what you are talking about before posting.

January 15, 2013 at 2:16 am

There needs to be at least 1 warning about a fee being charged before the transaction takes place.
If not, the banks will be able to rip you off any way they want to.
As long as there is something telling me about the fee at least once, I'm fine with it.
If I get hit with a bank fee, and there is no warning or option to cancel before the fee, there are going to be lawsuits and lot of cursing.

Robert Holtorff
January 15, 2013 at 1:16 am

"This ATM is free to all our awesome customers that bank with us. Anyone else: It's gonna cost $3-$5."

@John Campbell: That is genius, my friend. Therefore, it will not happen.

January 15, 2013 at 12:57 am

They need to start charging fees on food stamp debit cards so when they get cash back on them it should be .50 on every dollar and the fees put back into the program. I see this happen at the stores way to often.

Charles Dishmond
January 15, 2013 at 12:44 am

Mr. President,
If you want to do something really helpful to all Americans,

Bill Marlin
January 15, 2013 at 12:31 am

In this day and age, don't you think that banks and all other institutions should be open and up front with their notices and not be underhanded. Tell the consumer up front and then he/she can make their choice and not be suckered into paying any fees unnecessarily. Why all the secrecy. The institutions want our business, however they do not seem to be open and honest in their way of doing business.

John Campbell
January 15, 2013 at 12:02 am

Why not just have the fee discosure on the main screen before a card is inserted???