Banks hike cash machine fees

A slew of German banks have begun charging their customers fees of up to €10 for using non-affiliated cash machines, a survey by consumer financial services company FMH showed on Thursday.

Banks hike cash machine fees
Photo: DPA

In a comparison of 200 banks, the survey found that the average such fee has risen by 13 percent in the last half year to reach €5.64, according to the survey cited by daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

But other banks have moved to almost double this – charging up to €10 to get cash from other banks’ machines.

“The dramatic increase is no longer acceptable,” spokesperson for the VZVB German consumer protection agency Frank-Christian Pauli told the paper, adding that direct banks and branch banks are placing their competition quarrels on the backs of customers.

Providing cash to customers at ATMs actually costs banks just €0.60 per transaction, he said, Max Herbst, owner of FMH said.

Herbst recommended that consumers check their bank statements carefully to find out which banks are charging the most and avoid them.

Another solution for avoiding the exorbitant fees is using a Visa credit card cash advance, for which banks will only charge €1.74, Herbst said.

According to FHM’s survey, the following banks all now charge €10 fees to use cash machines at other institutions: DKB, Raiba-Voba Donauwörth, Sparda Südwest, Sparda-Bank West, Sparkasse Fürstenfeldbruck , Sparkasse Landshut, Stadtsparkasse Fürt , Voba Kaiserslautern-Nordwestpfalz, VR-Bank Coburg, PSD Bank Hessen-Thüringen.

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Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Italy's government will extend its proposed one-time €200 benefit to more people and introduce a €60 public transport payment, Italian media reported on Thursday.

Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Seasonal workers, domestic and cleaning staff, the self-employed, the unemployed and those on Italy’s ‘citizens’ income’ will be added to the categories of people in Italy eligible for a one-off €200 payment, ministers reportedly announced on Thursday evening.

The one-time bonus, announced earlier this week as part of a package of financial measures designed to offset the rising cost of living, was initially set to be for pensioners and workers on an income of less than €35,000 only.

However the government has now agreed to extend the payment to the additional groups following pressure from Italy’s labour, families, and regional affairs ministers and representatives of the Five Star Movement, according to news agency Ansa.

Pensioners and employees will reportedly receive the €200 benefit between June and July via a direct payment into their pension slip or pay packet.

For other groups, a special fund will be created at the Labour Ministry and the procedures for claiming and distributing payments detailed in an incoming decree, according to the Corriere della Sera news daily.

One new measure introduced at the cabinet meeting on Thursday is the introduction of a one-time €60 public transport bonus for students and workers earning below €35,000. The bonus is reportedly designed to encourage greater use of public transport and will take the form of an e-voucher that can be used when purchasing a bus, train or metro season pass.

Other provisions reportedly proposed in the energy and investment decree (decreto energia e investimenti), which is still being adjusted and amended, include extending energy bill discounts, cutting petrol excise duty and rolling on the deadline to claim Italy’s popular ‘superbonus 110’.

The €14 billion aid package, intended to lessen the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, will “fight the higher cost of living” and is “a temporary situation”, Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said.

The Local will report further details of the payment scheme once they become available following final approval of the decree.