The Owner of This ATM May Charge You an Added $3 Fee Per Transaction

Photograph by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

An automated teller machine (ATM) in San Francisco.

Call it a sign of the regulatory times:

Banks want relief from a requirement to post signs on automated teller machines advising customers of the fee they’ll pay for a transaction.

That relief is called H.R. 4367.

Chris Strohm reports for Bloomberg Government’s Congress Tracker that the law as it stands requires banks and credit unions to give consumers two notices that they face fees if they’re not using their own banks’ ATMs. It’s in the Electronic Fund Transfer Act:

One notice must be physically placed on the face of the machine; the other displayed electronically on the ATM screen or on a paper notice issued after a transaction.

The law also makes banks liable for as much as $500,000 in class-action lawsuits for failure to post signs — which makes thefts of signs by mischief makers a potentially big problem — according to a committee report on the bill. Aggrieved individuals can collect as much as $1,000 per transaction — which takes a lot of ATM fees to cover.

“Repealing this outdated and unnecessary duplicative requirement would cause no harm to consumers,” says House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus. “They would still be notified on the ATM screen of any fees and still have the ability to decline those fees and terminate the transaction.”

Here’s no surprise, as Strohm reports:

The bill is backed by the American Bankers Association, the Independent Community Bankers of America, the ATM Industry Association, the American Gaming Association, the Consumers Bankers Association, the Credit Union National Association, the Electronic Funds Transfer Association, the Food Marketing Institute, the National Association of Convenience Stores and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.

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