Volume 95, Issue 82

Friday, March 8, 2002
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-Budget 2002/2003-
Spoke fights 'stank'

Jesus called into question

The 65 per cent question

CFS slams Pierre Trudeau scholarship

ATMs eating students' beer money

Lots of sex - but none of it sells?

News Briefs

ATMs eating students' beer money

By Ben Leith
Gazette Staff

The mounting cost of using an ATM is frustrating students already struggling to make ends meet.

Service charges are up as a result of independent, "white label" bank machines in bars and convenience stores, according to a study released earlier this week by Industry Canada's Office of Consumer Affairs.

Once users go through a three-tier fee system – including electronic banking from one's own bank, Interac and usage charges – the user cost can reach upwards of $3.50, which can add up to hundreds of dollars over a year, warns the report.

"It is not a good deal," said director general Michael Jenkin of Consumer Affairs.

Data analyzed by Jenkin shows young people aged 18 to 35 are most likely to use white labels, with fifty per cent using them at least once a month and five per cent using them more that six times each month.

CIBC and Royal Bank have recently raised their service fees from $1.25 to $1.50 per transaction.

"Keep in mind that these are only the network fees used with Interac," said Joe Heim, CIBC's senior communication consultant. "A charge of only fifty cents applies when a CIBC customer is using one of our machines.

"Our customers who are under 19 or over 65 years of age [or] who hold a balance of more than a $1,000 pay no charges at our machines. Students are only required to pay half of the service charge," Heim said.

Like CIBC, Royal Bank does not charge its own customers an added service fee for use of its bank machines, said Sara Best, spokeswoman for Royal Bank.

"We launched a pilot project called Cash Works, which used non-branded machines, but we found that our customers prefer machines that have a Royal Bank brand on them," she said.

Ryan Bradley, a third-year honours geography student waiting in line for a bank machine in the University Community Centre, said he would not readily use a bank machine with a service charge.

"This is my bank, so I don't pay any service charge," he added. "I'll only use another machine if I'm desperate," Bradley said.

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