Treasury Committee Press Notice No. 53

Session 2003-04 5 November 2004

Cash Machine Charges

The Treasury Select Committee has agreed to conduct a short inquiry into Cash Machine Charges. The Committee will examine in particular:

•    The principle of charging and the  trend towards charging: the principle of charging for access to funds through cash machines; and the increasing prevalence of machines at which a charge is levied (a recent report by the Nationwide Building Society has indicated that the number has increased by 40% in the six months to September);

•    Transparency: the clarity of presentation of these charges to the consumer (a) at the time of use of a machine and (b) in the period before there is a change in charging policy at a particular machine;

•    Financial exclusion and location: concerns over the impact that the spread of charging may have on financial exclusion and low-income households, examining whether there is evidence of very limited access to free machines (whether on high streets, in Post Offices, or other sites) in certain areas.

The inquiry will involve evidence from machine providers and networks, including the banks/building societies, the LINK network, the Post Office and some of the operator companies (to whom some of the banks have transferred some machines).

Evidence will be sought on whether transparency of charging is satisfactory, and whether there are problems arising from limitations on access to free machines in less affluent locations (taking into account that, given the amount of a withdrawal for a low-income account holder may well be lower than the average, the impact of a fixed charge will be proportionately higher). Issues will include how far existing codes of practice are enforced and whether they are sufficient.

Evidence will also be sought on whether recent trends in the provision of machines have any security implications.

Written submissions are welcome from all interested organisations and experts. Specific evidence of areas where access to free machines is limited or where clarity about charging is inadequate will be helpful. (If members of the public wish to draw the attention of the Committee to an individual machine that does not prominently display a warning that a charge will be made, they should give the location of the machine, and if possible supply a digital picture.)

Evidence should be submitted by e-mail to [email protected], or by post to: Clerk of the Committee, Treasury Select Committee, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA, or by fax to 020 7219 2782. Submissions should if possible be received by Monday 6 December.

Announcements will be made about oral evidence sessions in due course. It is hoped that one or two such sessions should take place before the end of the year.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

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Specific Committee Information: Fiona Channon, Tel 020 7219 5769, email:[email protected]
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The Treasury Committee is a Select Committee of the House of Commons, appointed to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Treasury, the Inland Revenue, Customs and Excise and associated public bodies. All Members of the Committee are Members of the Sub-committee.

Rt. Hon. John McFall (Chairman), L, Dumbarton
Mr Nigel Beard, L, Bexleyheath and Crayford
Mr Jim Cousins, L, Newcastle upon Tyne Central
Angela Eagle, L, Wallasey
Mr Michael Fallon, C, Sevenoaks, (Sub-committee Chairman)
Rt Hon David Heathcoat-Amory, C, Wells
Norman Lamb, Lib Dem, North Norfolk
John Mann, L, Bassetlaw
Mr George Mudie, L, Leeds East
Mr James Plaskitt, L, Warwick and Leamington
Mr Robert Walter, C, North Dorset