Banks to display extra ATM fees

Starting Friday at midnight, cash machines in Germany will display the extra fees customers of rival banks are charged when making withdrawals, allowing them to abort the transaction.

Banks to display extra ATM fees
Photo: DPA

This weekend will hopefully mark the end of spiralling ATM charges following months of haggling between banks, consumer associations and government officials.

The cost for each withdrawal at a non-affiliated bank will displayed on the screen so that customers can decide whether they wish to pay up, or shop around by finding a cheaper option elsewhere. ATMs not yet updated will have a warning sticker.

However, there is not yet one uniform fee policy for all banks. Charges will vary depending on whether a withdrawal is made at a large private bank or a co-operative banks like Volksbank and savings bank such as Sparkasse.

The CashGroup (Postbank, Deutsche Bank, HypoVereinsbank, Commerzbank) will now charge a maximum of €1.95 for withdrawing money from an ATM run by the banks in group.

Savings and co-operative banks, which have the largest network of ATMs in Germany, have refused to follow the private banks and will be able to fix their own fees for non-customer withdrawals. Most Sparkasse branches are expected to charge between €3.50 and €5.

The move also marks a change to the cash machine fee system. Previously, the bank managing each ATM invoiced other banks with the cost of the withdrawal, who then charged their customers through their accounts. Under the new system, the cost to the customer comes directly at the moment they withdraw their cash.

Previously, banks had been heavily criticized by consumer advocates for charging as much as €10 per withdrawal by customers belonging to rival financial institutions.


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Cashless payments in Switzerland: What is Twint and how does it work?

If you live in Switzerland, you are likely no stranger to Twint and maybe even use it regularly to make and receive payments. But if you are not familiar with this app, this is what you should know.

Twint app can be installed on a mobile phone.
“Twinting” money with a smartphone is easy and convenient. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

In Switzerland, the word “Twint” is used both as a noun and a verb.

As a noun, it describes the mobile application which allows you to pay for various goods and services practically everywhere in the country.

As a verb, (“to twint”), it means to send someone money, or receive it, via the same app.

So what exactly is Twint?

Simply put, it is digital cash (not to be confused with bitcoin, which is digital currency) that was first introduced in Switzerland in 2014 and has become very popular since then.

Twint logo. Image by

People like it because it is an easy and quick way to make instantaneous payments, especially in situations when credit cards or physical cash can’t be used.

A big part of its convenience is that it can be used at cash registers, vending machines and parking meters, as well as in online shops — pretty much everywhere in Switzerland, even in places that don’t accept credit cards.

The only similar mode of payment would be your maestro debit card issued by your bank.

This video explains exactly how the process works.

Another advantage of Twint is that you can use it to send money to someone else’s mobile phone — as long as they also have Twint. And you can receive money the same way.

And there are no fees or charges for this service.

How does Twint work?

Anyone can use Twint, but you need a Swiss bank account or a credit card and, of course, a smartphone.

According to Twint website, you need a smartphone with either an iOS (from version 12.2 and upwards) or Android (from version 7 and upwards) operating system and Bluetooth capability (from version 4.0 and upwards).

“It is generally not possible for Twint to be used on Apple devices with an operating system older than “iOS 12.2” or on Android devices with an operating system older than “Android 7”. On Android devices without access to the Google Play Store (e.g. on certain HUAWEI models), the use of Twint app is also not possible”.

But If you have a compatible phone, installing Twint is easy.

Swiss banks offer their own version of the app, and you can download it directly from your bank’s website.

Then, when you use Twint to make a payment, the amount is debited directly from your bank account or credit card.

By the same token, if you receive payment from another Twint user, the money is automatically deposited in your account.

And you are not limited to just one Twint app.

If you have accounts is several banks, or have more than one credit card, you can install and use all of them.

READ MORE: How to open a bank account in Switzerland

Can Twint be used to make payments and receive money from abroad?

For the moment, Twint can be used solely in Switzerland and payments can be made only in Swiss francs – although this may change in future. 

“We are, however, working closely with providers in other countries to develop an international and multi-currency solution”, according to Twint website.

You can find more information about Twint here.

READ MORE: Which bank is best for Americans in Switzerland?