(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) has co-sponsored an amendment to the Wall Street Reform bill that would protect Washington state consumers from exorbitant fees charged by banks at Automated Teller Machines. The amendment requires the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to ensure that fees charged to consumers at ATMs are reasonably related to the cost of processing the transaction.
“At one time or another we have all stared at an ATM in disbelief at being charged huge sums just to get our own money out of the bank,” said Senator Murray. “It’s a racket that lines the pockets of big banks and it needs to end. The truth is that it costs banks a tiny fraction of the fee they’re charging to consumers to process these transactions. We need to restore an even playing field for consumers. This amendment would give the new Consumer Protection Bureau the power to prevent banks from gouging customers at the ATM.”
The Federal Reserve estimates that the national average per ATM transaction fee is now $2.66 and in some cases banks charge as high as $5 per transaction. On average, the real cost of processing a transaction is 36 cents or less. The amendment Senator Murray is working to pass into law would require that ATM fees “bear a reasonable relation to the cost of processing the transaction.”
The amendment Senator Murray has co-sponsored was introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA). The amendment is supported by the US Public Interest Research Group, the Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Action, Consumers Union and the National Consumer Law Center.
Senator Murray continues to work to bring the amendment to a vote in the Senate, however Republicans have thus far blocked its consideration.