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Lawmaker Demands Data On Atm Costs

Compiled From Wire Services

Armed with new evidence that surcharges for automated teller machines are increasing sharply, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee threatened ATM networks with subpoenas if they don’t provide data on transaction costs.

A spokesman for one of the biggest networks, Cirrus, said it does not have such information.

Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, R-N.Y., also proposed legislation Wednesday to ban double charges by banks on ATM transactions.

Surcharges paid to the bank operating an ATM come on top of fees many customers pay their own bank when they use another bank’s machine.

In a report released Wednesday, congressional investigators found that ATM surcharges more than tripled in the 14 months ending in February.

Banks “have decided to soak consumers with multiple fees every time they need to take money out of their accounts,” D’Amato said at a Banking Committee hearing. “The people who are getting hit the hardest are the ones who can least afford it.

“A $3 fee on a $200 withdrawal is a nuisance,” he said, “but taking a $3 bite out of a $20 withdrawal is an outrage.”

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