Lloyds TSBto charge 50p for Cashpoint withdrawal

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Lloyds TSB broke ranks with the other main high-street banks yesterday by announcing plans for charging consumers for using its Cashpoint machines from 1 January.

It said from 1 January it would abolish the £1.50 disloyalty charge on its own customers for using other banks' cash machines (ATMs). Instead, it would charge 50p a time for non-customers using its machines. Peter Ellwood, Group Chief Executive of Lloyds TSB, made the announcement at an all-party Treasury select committee.

Meanwhile, Barclays said it intended to continue with its plans to charge non-customers £1 for use of its ATMs from the same date, although the group's chief executive, Matthew Barrett, said the bank might alter its plans in the light of what its rivals do.

Bill Dalton, chief executive of HSBC Bank, said it would be changing its policy of not charging customers of other banks for using its machines. He said: "From January 1, we will charge customers of other banks for using our machines."

An HSBC spokeswoman added that the bank had not yet decided whether to abolish its existing £1 disloyalty fee for its customers using other banks' machines, but there would beno double charging.

Mr Barrett added that there would be more branch closures at Barclays. "We are losing millions of pounds on unprofitable branches," he said. In contrast, Mr Dalton said HSBC was actually opening branches. Mr Ellwood said Lloyds TSB was changing its policy on closures. "We will not close a branch where we are the last one in town. Some of the branches we keep open will incur a small loss but we are prepared to do that," he said.

A spokesman for the Consumers' Association said: "The recommendations contained in the recent Cruickshank report say that charges for using cash machines should be limited to the cost of providing the service, which is no more than 30p. The banks still don't seem to have accepted that principle."