No Movement on Amendment to Cap ATM Fees at 50 Cents

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A measure to cap ATM fees at 50 cents per transaction, introduced earlier this month as an amendment to the Senate financial reform legislation by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), was blocked from being debated on the Senate floor Tuesday evening.

According to a report by the Huffington Post, Harkin went straight to the floor to ask the chamber's consent to vote, conceding that he would be satisfied with a mere five minutes of debate. Banks and companies that own and manage ATM machines in retail outlets oppose the amendment for a number of reasons.

Carl Myers, co-founder of ATM ServNet LLC, a Cedarville, Ohio-based that manages ATM machines, mostly in c-stores, told CSNews Online that "c-stores need to understand that this legislation will force all of the companies who process c-store transactions to go out of business. The c-stores will lose the ability for their ATMs to connect and process transactions. If an ATM cannot process the information, the c-store's ATM is dead. Only the banks will survive and they will only be able to operate ATMs at their branches, not c-store ATMs, due to the expense being four to five times the income."

Myers contends that both Wall Street and big banks will benefit from the amendment at the expense of consumers and small business people. Myers listed several reasons why:

Consumers Lose Under Harkin's 50 Cent Cap at ATMs:

-- banks will close ATMs that aren't actually at the bank due to costs outweighing income.
-- closing over 200,000 ATMs, half of the ATMs in the U.S., will inconvenience customers, costing them time, money and gas to go out of their way to go to the bank -- the long lines they were trying to avoid in the first place.
-- banks will stop reimbursing ATM fees to customers who use another bank's ATM.
-- banks will start charging account holders for using their banks' ATMs.
-- banks will charge live teller fees to make up for lost income.
-- banks will increase fees and think up new fees to replace lost income.
-- consumers will use more plastic, putting them right back into the debt they were trying to dig out of.
-- consumers lose jobs: in the private ATM sector, convenience store industry and all their vendors, ATM manufacturing, armored car, ATM installation/repair, parts manufacturing, transaction processing, security, communication, technical support, sign manufacturing/sales, paper manufacturing, computer repair. These are all American jobs eliminated by "consumer protection."

Who Wins With Harkin's 50 Cent Fee Cap?

--Big Banks and Wall Street win due to shutting down half the ATMs in the U.S.
--Big Banks and Wall Street win due to no competition.
--Big Banks and Wall Street win due to consumers being forced to use more plastic.
--Big Banks and Wall Street win due to increased fees and new fees on the consumer.

Ironically, if the amendment is added to the financial reform bill, convenience stores will be faced with the quandary. They must support the overall reform bill because it currently contains important reform of credit card transaction fees, but the Harkin measure could hurt them financially.

Related News:

Amendment to Financial Reform Bill Would Limit ATM Fees
This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds