Charges for using ATMs from a different bank will become a thing of the past for millions around France, under new plans revealed this week.
Three banking groups - Société Générale, BNP Paribas and Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale (owner of the CIC network) – are set to combine their ATMs under a single entity named ‘Cash Service’.
The move will affect around 15,000 ATMs – around a third of all machines in France.
The banks were quick to assure clients, however, that this pooling will not be replicated for in-person services, and there are no branch closures planned.
The move has been made to help “sustain self-service banking which the French people are attached to, in urban as well as in rural areas," the banks confirmed in a joint-press conference this week.
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Fewer costs, less stress
The switch is planned to start at the end of this year, and to be fully completed by 2025.
This means that from this date, you will no longer be charged for using the ATMs of one of the institutions above, if you are a client of one of the fellow banks.
Average annual charges for withdrawing cash from other machines is €12.75 per person in France, according to a study by Panorabanques, although this can fluctuate depending on accessibility to ATM machines.
Such charges may occur, for example, if you withdraw money more than a certain amount of times at a different ATM than the one of your bank. The specifics will vary from one bank to another and on the contract agreement you have with them.
Other services alongside cash withdrawals will include depositing money, checking bank balances, and printing a RIB – a piece of paper containing a user’s bank information and number.
Banks count savings
It is not just clients who will benefit from this, as the banks are set to save money by pooling these resources together.
Every ATM costs around €25,000 to €30,000 in maintenance each year, a number that only increases as machines get older.
Use of ATMs has decreased in recent years, due both because of health concerns at the time of Covid-19, but also more generally from the rise in digital methods of payment, such as via mobile apps or contactless payments on bank cards.
France is seeing a reduction in the number of ATMs in the country; an average of more than two per day were closed in 2021, and there are nearly 10% fewer ATMs today than in 2018.