In the jungle of commissions on payments on pos and the cost of withdrawing cash at ATMs, there are those who would like to order. To have a clear and correct awareness of the costs applied to the service, to make everything more transparent and competitive. Alessandro Zollo, CEO of Bancomat spa, a company with 23 million in revenues, whose shareholders are 120 Italian banking groups that issue cards to customers, asked for a revision of the cost structure. The company presented to the Competition and Market Authority the project for the abolition of the interchange fee and the commission payment applied to the levy to be paid by the customer. Because the system that regulates cash withdrawals is no longer economically sustainable », Zollo is keen to underline. Too bad that a further extension has arrived on the dossier.
The Antitrust Authority has in fact announced that it has postponed the closing of the investigation to next October 31st, which began on December 1, 2020 and expired on April 29th. The decision was taken considering “the complexity of the case in point of the procedure and of the factual framework”, explained the Authority.
FIGURES But let’s go in order. Are approximately 150 million withdrawals made in one year at ATMs of banks other than the card issuer, out of a total of 550 million for a value of approximately 100 billion euro. The remainder are made by customers of the same bank that owns the ATM. There are some banks that allow withdrawal with an ATM card at the ATM of a bank other than the issuing one for free. But the trend still remains to charge a commission that often does not take into account the sum withdrawn. These costs can be changed with a justified reason and above all they must be made known in advance to the customer, who can freely decide to withdraw from the contract. Regardless of whether or not the cost is charged to the customer, the bank issuing the card with the current system must pay the bank that owns the ATM an interchange fee of 49 euro cents for each withdrawal, a rate regulated by the authority. An interbank cost not charged to the customer, who pays nothing to the bank he goes to. And here is the first problematic aspect. Zollo explains: «The management, maintenance and amortization of the ATM have an estimated cost of up to 1 euro for each withdrawal. The bank where the withdrawal takes place, therefore, provides a service at a loss because it receives only 49 cents. This way of operating is no longer sustainable ».
And it should be noted that the bank that charges the commission, between 0 and 3 euros, is not the one in which it is withdrawn. But it is the one where the customer who makes the withdrawal has the account, so the commission goes to his bank. So if you go to your bank, you pay nothing. If you go elsewhere you pay up to 3 euros to your bank, where you already have, by paying them, the account and the card. «It is a system that, in addition to being not very transparent, does not remunerate the cost of those who offer the service. This is why we have proposed a different model to the Antitrust Authority “. The idea is to cut the fixed commission so that each bank sets its own price. In detail, the Bancomat spa project would therefore “envisage two essential steps. First, to zero the interchange fee of 49 cents, second to allow the bank that manages the ATM to apply a fee of up to a maximum of 1.5 euros per transaction to the customer of another bank that makes the withdrawal “, explained Zollo .
TEMPLATE The model provides that, before proceeding with the withdrawal, the customer is shown the exact amount of the commission applied, with the possibility of canceling the transaction. Furthermore ATM will provide a free app that will show the location of all ATMs with an indication of the commission applied by each. And the commission applied must be unique for each banking group throughout the national territory. «We are convinced that the remuneration of the withdrawal service managed in this way will allow to stem the closure of ATMs. Furthermore, our new model overcomes this problem because it plans to extend the possibility of withdrawing cash also from the pos of commercial establishments that have a lot of cash. That is: petrol stations, tobacconists and supermarkets. The proposal backed by the company could finally give an answer to the protests raised by consumers. The application of a maximum commission threshold, such as the acknowledgment at the time of withdrawal of the cost applied by the bank, aims precisely at greater transparency. On the market then the reflection, as it has already been at a European level, would guarantee coverage and greater competition even in the smallest municipalities.
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