The Big Four cut bank fees. The big question is "Why?"

Wednesday 27 September 2017
Nic Crowther's picture
Co Editor
The Shaker

There were cheers across the country last weekend as Commonwealth Bank (followed quickly by Westpac, NAB and ANZ)

According to The Australian, CBA’s BankWest ATMs - largely in 7-11 stores along the east coast – make up 20% of Commonwealth’s network. These rake in a disproportionate amount of cash and will be exempt from the fee cut. NAB’s rediATMs are also excluded.


CommBank CEO, Ian Narev


But what was the motivation to get rid of the fee? Why have the Big Four so readily given up a lucrative revenue stream?

It’s likely something of a charm offensive by Commonwealth Bank. CBA and its CEO, Ian Narev, have been under siege for much of the last 12 months as a range of scandals have hammered the bank’s reputation.



Cutting this fee – which has always been an outrageous burden of customers – might be seen as an act of goodwill by CBA. This view is not necessarily a cynical one, especially with the threat of a royal commission still lurking in the background.

So, is this a win for consumers? Well, in the short term it certainly looks like the case. However, as bank shopfronts continue to disappear, surely the $2.00 fee was an incentive to plonk an ATM in the in poorly-services areas.


ANZ CEO, Shayne Elliot


By scraping an extra two bucks from a large proportion of the machine’s users, investment in these machines may be profitable. Without that revenue stream, there might be little motivation to provide what would be an essentially ‘free’ service for people who bank with their competitors.

Or perhaps we’ll just see more BankWest or rediATMs popping up instead of Commbank and NAB?