Post Office bosses face probe over ATM fees

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The Independent Online

Executives from the Post Office are to be grilled by MPs after it emerged that its branches house the largest network of ATMs which charge customers to take money out.

Executives from the Post Office are to be grilled by MPs after it emerged that its branches house the largest network of ATMs which charge customers to take money out.

The House of Commons Treasury Committee is to hold a series of hearings into charges for cash machines starting on 21 December. The MPs will question consumer groups, the bosses of the Link network and companies running ATMs that charge, such as Cardpoint and Hanco, which is owned by Royal Bank of Scotland.

But special attention is expected to be given to the Post Office. It has 2,000 cash machines in its branches, and admits that only 650 allow customers free withdrawals.

A spokesman justified the charges, saying: "Charges are made where there is low usage. If there was not a charge, our suppliers might not be able to provide the service."

The Post Office ATMs are largely run by either Alliance & Leicester or Hanco. They typically charge around £1.75 to withdraw money.

MPs are concerned that banks are selling their ATMs to companies that levy a fee as a way to introduce charges by the back door. An attempt, led by Barclays, to bring in charges five years ago was thwarted by consumers.

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