A well-known Bahamian Facebook group is asking the Central Bank of the Bahamas to examine the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) fees levied locally when customers use the machines at another bank.
Members of Straight Up Talk have individually written to Central Bank governor, Wendy Craigg, and the inspector of banks expressing concerns over the level of the transaction fees and lack of transparency.
Group spokesperson Kristopher Gray explained: “We understand that banks need to charge service fees to cover their costs. And we appreciate the convenience of being able to use the ATMs of other banks. But persons in our groups are noticing charges on their statements ranging from $3 per transaction to $7 per transaction when using another bank’s ATM.
“There seems to be no rationale for the level of these transactional fees. Worse, in other countries that we visit, the ATMs tell you what your service fee will be before you do the transaction. Here in the Bahamas, no such notice is given. There is a total lack of transparency”.
The group is asking the Central Bank, as regulator of commercial banks, to explain whether these fees are regulated or not. Straight Up Talk also wants the banks show the applicable fees on the ATM screen before a transaction is done, or post notices next to ATM machines showing fee schedules. Finally, the group is asking the Central Bank to ensure the fees are fair and reasonable.
“The members of our online forum appreciate that the banks have to recover their costs and, as such, we expect to pay a reasonable fee. But we maintain that, following leading practices around the world, there must be greater transparency to us as consumers, and any charges must be fair,” added Mr Gray.
The ‘Straight Up Talk’ Facebook group is an online forum open to all Bahamians. It covers a range of issues, and it facilitates and encourages the respectful exchange of ideas and viewpoints. It currently has over 3,200 members.