Bangkok Post: Banks asked to cut foreigners' ATM fees

I first came across the above Bangkok Post's article at the ThaiVisa Forums, but I find it difficult to correlate the article title with its content. Although the header says 'request to cut fees', it went on to justify why imposing fees is necessary and it is 'in line with expenses charged for cross-border ATM transactions in other countries'!

I had, previously, withdrawn cash from the UOB and Thanachart1 auto-tellers along Silom Road. There was absolutely no additional fees levied at this end, less the service charge imposed by the Singapore bank which issued my ATM card.

If I have not mistaken, Kasikorn Bank has yet to levy the THB150 charge for cash withdrawal with a foreign card. Bangkok Bank, on the hand, seized the chance without second thought.

Banks asked to cut foreigners' ATM fees

Published: 4/05/2009 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: Business

The Thai Bankers' Association will ask local banks to cut fee charges for foreign cardholders using local ATMs, according to association secretary-general Twatchai Yongkittikul.

He said the TBA would hold talks among its members about current fees.

But he cautioned that any cuts would likely be marginal, as most of the fees represented charges imposed for international network access and simply passed on to end-users.

Since mid-April, foreign cardholders withdrawing funds from local ATMs have been charged 150 baht per transaction.

Dr Twatchai said the fee largely came from new transaction charges imposed by international service providers MasterCard Worldwide and Visa Worldwide to cover interchange network costs.

Local banks, which had previously absorbed the expenses, are now looking to pass on their own operating expenses to customers, arguing that the fees charged in Thailand are in line with expenses charged for cross-border ATM transactions in other countries.

Dr Twatchai acknowledged that a number of foreign tourists and expatriates had complained about the added fees.

At a minimum, he said, local banks should communicate better with customers about the expenses banks incur for processing international transactions.

Local banks should give more information about fees on the ATM screen, and then customers can make their own choice about whether to continue with the transaction," Dr Twatchai said.

"The TBA will try to raise awareness about the issue. Unfortunately, right now many foreign customers have a negative view of local banks due to the fee issue."

But a MasterCard spokesman denied that the 150-baht ATM access fee imposed by many Thai banks stemmed from any recent fee change or initiative by the company. The spokesman said MasterCard last notified member banks in October 2007 about a 0.2-percentage-point increase in fees effective from January 2008 under cross-border agreements. Since then, no other fee increases have been made related to ATM charges.
Source: Bangkok Post

1. Apparently, the THB150 fees was first imposed somewhere in April this year. It was mentioned in ThaiVisa Forums that Thanachart Bank does slap the mentioned fees for every cash withdrawal using a foreign ATM card. I would have to re-ascertain this the next time when I am in Thailand.

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THAIoholic, the blog, is setup with the initial intention of keepsake. As time goes by, I find it harder and harder for my gray cells (of what left) to remember traces of great places we have been to, good foods we savored but missed, details that I should remember but they slipped away unknowingly.

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