Banks secretly hike ATM transaction fees

June 21, 2012 | 14:01
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Many banks have increased their fees for ATM transactions such as checking balances, transferring, or printing statements without informing cardholders, while some have begun charging customers for on-us transactions, or those made within the same network.


The fee collections have been implemented in secret while the draft bill to decide whether banks can officially charge customers for ATM transaction is still in the feedback-collecting stage.

On June 6 Thu Hang, who works for a media company in Ho Chi Minh City’s Phu Nhuan District, used her Techcombank ATM card to withdraw money at an ATM booth of another bank, and was stunned to see that the fee for making an interbank transaction is VND5,940.

“It’s nearly double the old VND3,300 rate,” she lamented, adding that other fees for checking balances, transferring, and printing statements also increased twofold from VND1,650 to VND3,300.

“Why didn’t the bank issue any announcement on its fee increases?” she said.

Meanwhile Ha, a worker at Esprinta Co in the Binh Duong-based Song Thanh 2 Industrial Park, also said Techcombank did not post any announcements about the hikes in their two ATM booths in front of the industrial park.

“It’s inevitable that I will switch to using ATM machines of other banks as there are thousands of workers here whose salaries are paid via ATM cards,” she said.

Meanwhile, some banks have chosen to collect fees for on-us transactions, instead of increasing charges for interbank services.

BIDV, for instance, now charges customers VND1,100 for balance checking and statement printing transactions via ATM booths under its system.

On-us transfers are also subject to a VND2,200 fee per transaction, while it used to be free.

For its part Agribank collects a fee of 0.05 percent of the transacted amount on money transfers, while the minimum charge is VND3,300.

Agribank cardholders are also charged VND550 whenever they check balance or print statement at the ATM machine.

On-us transaction fee mulled

Ngo Ngoc Dong, CEO of Vietnam National Financial Switching JSC, or Banknet, said the fee increases or additions are the banks’ own policies, not the State Bank of Vietnam or the bank card alliance.

Dong said many banks have complained of the high expenses needed to invest in the ATM system, but the central bank’s view is that fee collection can only be done under a roadmap developed by the central bank, in a way that ensures that interests between customers and banks will be balanced.

Nguyen Tu Anh, CEO of Smartlink, said she is surprised by the news as banks had agreed at a recent meeting that ATM fees would not be adjusted this year.

She said the central bank has ordered the Payment Agency to develop a reasonable policy on ATM fees.

The agency, for its part, has finished the draft decree and is collecting feedback from relevant agencies.

The draft proposes that interbank transaction fees will be increased by an inconsiderable rate, while fees for on-us withdrawals will be only VND1,000 per transaction.

The fee collection is expected to be applied from either January or June, 2013.

Tuoi Tre

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