‘Unethical ATM charges must be banned’ – Magennis

Posted by
editor@newrytimes.com
Monday, October 14th, 2019
Politics

Sinn Féin Councillor Oonagh Magennis has welcomed the decision by Newry, Mourne and Down Council to contact the Financial Secretary of the Treasury with a view to scrapping ATM charges.

Councillors unanimously supported Cllr. Magennis’ motion, which called on the Council to contact the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, asking that he look at this issue and introduce measures to reduce or remove the charges.

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It was also suggested the appointment of a regulator for cash machine charge control across the north.

 

 

The Slieve Gullion councillor said ATM charges were “unethical, disproportionately affected rural and less well off people and amounted to little more than a private tax on earnings”.

“In the present economic climate in particular, but also as a general rule, Banks and Building Societies should be providing ATM’s as a service to customers and not as another source of income,” she stated.

“Over recent years banks and building societies, in an effort to reduce costs at the expense of customer service, closed a large number of branches leaving many areas without walk-in services.

 

 

“These services were replaced by ATMs, however, as independent cash machine providers entered the market place, brand name bank machines began to disappear.

“These private operators are often charging anywhere from £0.95 up to £2 per transaction. With most wages, pension and benefits now being paid into banks, these charges are an extra burden on people on fixed and low incomes and amount to little more than a private company taxing people’s wages.

“In the absence of walk-in bank services, particularly in rural areas, people have no option but to use ATMs and face a charge to access their own money.

“Such charges have a particularly damaging effect on the elderly, as well as those on low incomes, for whom every penny counts when it comes to budgeting for the week or the month.

 

 

“I’m delighted the council has supported my motion to contact the Financial Secretary of the Treasury around this issue and I hope that other councils across the north will do the same.

Councillor Magennis added, “British Ministers traditionally have little interest in the north so we must put as much pressure as possible on them to scrap these outrageous fees, encourage banks to provide vital services to their customers and put a halt to these unethical business practices.”

 

 

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