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House Panel OKs Measure on ATM Fee Disclosure

<i> From Associated Press</i>

The House Banking Committee, tapping into consumer anger, overwhelmingly approved a measure Wednesday that would require ATM surcharges to be clearly disclosed at the teller machine.

The panel, on a 48-1 vote, will attach the measure to sweeping legislation it has been drafting that would lift restrictions dating to the Depression era that erected barriers among banks, securities firms and insurance companies. The new legislation would allow the various types of firms to merge.

The sole dissenting vote on the House banking panel came from Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.), who said she believes banks can sufficiently police themselves in operating automated teller machines.

The measure would require clear disclosure of the surcharges, which are levied on top of charges by customers’ own banks for using a machine operated by another bank. The fact that double charges are imposed on people who aren’t customers of a particular bank would have to be posted in a sign on the teller machine, and the surcharge amount would have to be specified on the screen after consumers log in. Consumers would have to be given the chance to terminate a transaction before paying the surcharge.

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When issuing ATM cards to customers, banks would have to provide a warning that surcharges may be assessed by other banks.

Many banks currently do at least some of these things voluntarily.


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