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ATM withdrawal fees for customers of other banks - current status

Date of issue: 15.09.2017

The Bundeskartellamt has concluded an extensive investigation into fees charged by German banks for withdrawals from their ATMs by customers of other banks.

Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: "These days, most consumers can avoid paying high withdrawal fees by either withdrawing cash at an ATM of their own bank, at an ATM that belongs to the ATM network of which their bank is a member, at another ATM that charges lower fees, at petrol stations or retail stores or by using their credit card for withdrawals. This has been made possible by the cost transparency introduced in 2011. Consumers are now informed of the fees charged for a transaction before they conduct the transaction, which allows them to change their mind and go somewhere else."

In the Bundeskartellamt's view an intervention by the State to regulate withdrawal fees for customers of other banks would not be expedient at this stage. If the ceiling for withdrawal fees is set too low, there is a risk that the financial institutions will no longer be willing to maintain ATMs in certain locations.

Andreas Mundt: "We will continue to monitor the market. In individual cases we may well institute price abuse proceedings if the withdrawal fee for customers of other banks is particularly high at an ATM to which there is no alternative for miles around. We will also monitor the existing ATM networks. On account of their significant position in the market they are obliged to decide on membership applications on the basis of fair and non-discriminatory criteria."

Currently, there are four ATM networks in Germany: one maintained by the cooperative banks, one by the savings banks, one maintained by several large private banks (Cash-Group), as well as a small network whose members are either private banks or belong to the cooperative banking sector (Cash-Pool). Within these networks, customers of the member banks pay no or only minimal fees for using another bank's ATM.

Further information can be found in the case summary “Entgelte bei Geldautomatenabhebungen” [in German] which is available for download on the Bundeskartellamt’s website. An English translation of the case summary will be provided soon.

Press release (pdf)

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