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Lobbyist Money Help  

ATM surcharges no longer subject to ban

February 11, 1998
By: Emily Goodin
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - A bill that would ban ATM surcharges has been amended so it will now only require ATMs to notify you of the charge.

The bill's sponsor blames the change on strong opposition from bankers.

"The opposition has been so strong from the banks that, in fact, I had to amend the bill," said Rep. Steve McLuckie, D-Kansas City.

Opponents of the original bill claimed that people were warned of the charge and could chose to continue with the transaction.

Now, the amended bill will require, by law, that warning to be there.

"I think it's a good as compromise as we can get," said Bill Ratliff of the Missouri Bankers Association, who testified against the original bill.

The warning would say that the bank receives part of the fee their bank charges, McLuckie said. "It's a little stronger than the current notification."

A surcharge is the fee charged when you use an ATM that isn't at your bank. Many banks already charge a fee - usually one dollar - for using an ATM it doesn't own.

Of this fee, some money goes to your bank, some goes to the ATM network and some goes to the bank whose ATM you used. Two years ago, the networks, like Plus and Cirrus, allowed banks to charge an additional surcharge when a non-customer used their ATMs.

McLuckie's original bill would have banned this fee in Missouri.

"You have to get enough votes in this body and I was not going to be able to pass my ban," McLuckie said.

Most ATM machines already warn you of the surcharge fee and give you the option to cancel your transaction. This requirement is imposed by the networks.

McLuckie said that he is concerned the networks could take away the warning requirement.

"If we pass this bill, it will be in the statute," he said.

The bill was voted out of the House Consumer Protection Committee Wednesday morning. Also voted out of committee was Rep. Chuck Graham's bill that would forbid credit card companies from canceling your card if you keep the bill paid. Now, both bills head toward the House floor.