Banks and building societies today voted to end double charges to their own customers for using rivals' cash machines.
At a meeting in Harrogate, the 34 members of the Link cash machine alliance agreed that from July 1 they would not levy any charges on their own customers when they use a rival's ATM (Automated Teller Machine) to withdraw cash.
The decision means customers will not be faced with a "double whammy" of up to £2.50 in fees when surcharges on non-customers of around £1 for using cash machines are allowed from January 1 next year.
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Stephen Byers gave a cautious welcome to the decision.
"A decision to rule out double charging is a step in the right direction, but the banks and building societies need to go further if they are to meet the concerns of their customers.
"Some banks and building societies have already indicated that they do not propose to impose any charges at all," he said.
"It will now be for banks and building societies to explain fully to their customers the charging policy they intend to adopt.
"We shall ensure that there is genuine competition in this area so that customers have a genuine choice."
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