This kind of action, executed on a mass scale and on many fronts, is what it will take to break the stranglehold a small number of ultra-wealthy plutarchs have on the rest of us.

In conjunction with Occupy Wall Street/Occupy together, US Uncut, WolfPac, and Move Your Money, taking steps like these is how we each have it within our grasp to contribute to our own liberation.

I say ‘Amen!!’

Consumers, Small ATM Networks Fight Against ATM Fees

by Susanna Kim

Consumers are saying they are fed-up with not just Bank of America’s debit card fees but other banks’ ATM fees as well. Three anti-trust lawsuits are alleging Visa and MasterCard, the largest card networks, are unfairly “fixing” prices against both consumers and independent ATM providers.

In the most recent suit filed Oct. 18, one man from New Jersey, Justin Genese, is proposing a class action against the top providers of automated teller machine (ATM) services for “orchestrating, implementing, and facilitating a conspiracy to fix the prices for ATM Access fees.”

An ATM user who obtains money from a machine not belonging to their bank is notified on the ATM’s screen about a $2.50 fee or more surcharge.

Genese’s suit is against Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and two other financial companies, alleging that customers have “been forced to pay artificially inflated, supra-competitive ATM Access Fees” to the bank defendants and “bank co-conspirators.”

All three suits, filed in the District of Columbia, say the largest ATM providers and other financial institutions are unfairly restricting market movement by preventing ATMs from charging different fees to consumers based on their type of debit card. Rep. Brad Miller Goes After Bank of America Watch Video ‘Is Marriage for White People?’ Watch Video Bank of America Fees: CEO Responds Watch Video

A similar suit filed by 14 independent ATM providers on Oct. 12 alleges that Visa and Mastercard are restricting competition by forcing them to charge all their users the same fee, regardless of their type of debit card. The plaintiffs include ATM operators not affiliated with banks, including the National ATM Council, a trade association, and ATMs of the South.

The suit alleges that Visa, MasterCard and their member banks “have misused this power to fix the access fee for any transaction at a given ATM or terminal to be no less than the amount charged at that ATM or terminal for a Visa or MasterCard transaction…without regard to any cost saving to the ATM operator of obtaining service from one of the alternative PIN-based networks.”

“The ATM restraints, therefore, effectuate horizontal price fixing that is unlawful per se,” the suit alleges.

“If there was a truly competitive market, the levels of the fees would be lower,” Jonathan Rubin, attorney for the ATM providers said. “They’re in the business of selling convenience.”

About half of the 400,000 ATMs in the country are operated by providers not affiliated with banks, according to Rubin. He said his clients earn revenue by charging a surcharge to customers and a back-end switch fee.

Jim Issokson, MasterCard spokesman, said “the claims challenging certain MasterCard ATM rules are without merit.”

“These rules were put in place to protect consumers from ATM operators seeking to impose discriminatory surcharges on our cardholders,” he said. “We believe these important consumer protections must be preserved and we will vigorously defend against the claims brought against us.”

Lisa Westermann, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman, said, “We believe the allegations of the complaint are without merit and plan to vigorously defend the case.”

Spokesmen for Visa and Bank of America declined to comment. JP Morgan Chase did not respond to a request for comment.

This month, over 50,000 people have joined an online group saying they will leave banks for what they say are unfavorable practices, such as Bank of America’s planed $5 debit card fee. In an event titled “Bank Transfer Day” thousands are signing up to leave large banks in favor of credit unions on or before Saturday, November 5, over what some call unethical practices.

Another suit, filed on Oct. 17 from two consumers makes similar allegations as Genese’s suit, but only against Visa and MasterCard. Lynne Barton of San Francisco and Charles Brown of Washington, D.C. are listed as plaintiffs.

George Sampson, an attorney of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro representing the plaintiffs, said the controversy over Bank of America’s $5 debit card fee and the suit filed by the ATM providers captured his clients’ attention for this lawsuit. Rep. Brad Miller Goes After Bank of America Watch Video ‘Is Marriage for White People?’ Watch Video Bank of America Fees: CEO Responds Watch Video

“Our clients are generally upset about debit card fees in general,” Sampson said. “There should be competition in this marketplace and we believe competition would result in lower prices and perhaps consumers having to choose networks for their transactions.”

Sampson said it is possible the same judge will hear all three of these recent cases, though it is too early to tell if the cases will be combined.

“It’s probably in the interest of all the parties that the cases which raise the same factual issues are heard by a single issue,” he said.

Sampson and his firm previously represented Walmart and other retailers against Visa and Mastercard in a suit that led to the demise of their rule which required merchants to accept both their credit cards and debit cards. That suit settled in 2003 resulting in over $3 billion in recovery to retailers who accepted their cards from October 1992 through June 2003.

Eric Grover, principal of Intrepid Ventures, corporate development and strategy for payment networks, said the current rules keep prices from being unfairly high for Visa and MasterCard customers.

“The ATM operators are saying that it’s restricting their freedom,” Grover said, but Visa and MasterCard are also making choices to promote their businesses.

“The networks have an interest in ensuring the environment such that folks that have economics have an incentive to deploy ATMs,” he said. “They’re saying, ‘You are free to license our product and participate in our network or not. And if you do, these are the terms of our business.'”

Original post on abc.go.com

30 Responses to “The Battle Against Abusive ATM Fees”

  1. quer dingianoff says:

    Finextra

    Jefferies Remains Bullish on MasterCard (MA) & Visa (V) But Recommends Visa …
    StreetInsider.com (subscription)
    Jefferies’s market checks indicate that trends remain positive for MasterCard (NYSE: MA) and Visa (NYSE: V). The firm sees no signs of slowing in consumer spending, but highlights comps are beginning to be tougher. They forecast Visa and MasterCard …
    Another ATM surcharge fee lawsuit for Visa and MasterCard also includes three …ATM marketplace.com (press release)
    Lawsuit Over ATM Fees Latest in Banks’ PR WoesBanktech (blog)
    3 Federal Lawsuits Have Been Filed Regarding High ATM FeesSkim That
    Finextra -Wall St. Cheat Sheet -Boosh (press release)
    all 48 news articles »

  2. tihasic cegan says:

    This, from a country that talks so patriotically about freedom < Mass arrests at >em/em<>em/em<>em/em< protests >a >a “/a

  3. shihari block says:

    Finextra

    Lawsuit Over ATM Fees Latest in Banks’ PR Woes
    Banktech (blog)
    A lawsuit alleges that Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo conspired with card issuers Visa and MasterCard to fix out-of-network prices. By Bryan Yurcan The banking industry has been dealing with a seemingly endless parade of negative PR …
    3 Federal Lawsuits Have Been Filed Regarding High ATM FeesSkim That
    US banks sued over ATM fees.Finextra
    Customers Get Litigious Over Bank FeesWall St. Cheat Sheet
    Boosh (press release)
    all 45 news articles »

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    This the Who, three of a who will crappy repetitive lyrics that meaning full at all. Their old songs had meaning, but this is just trash. Why did Keith have to die so young?

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  8. Please Show Me an Ad at the ATM So I Don’t Have to Pay an Extra 2 Bucks [Money] –

  9. They starve people with low wage jobs, provoking you to “do something”. Occupy Wall Street was a litmus test. They’ll Tiananman Square us. –

  10. This Hugs Revolution is a dangerous thing. In the same vein as Occupy Wall Street, The Tea Ghandi, roses, irony, dance, fruits –

  11. Wait, people taking this seriously are on our side?! Maybe they’re suffering trauma. It’s a very professional looking clip with excellent production values but how can anyone be fooled by lines like “Even comes with authentic Zucotti Park smell” or “Only use tear gas under adult supervision as directed”. It even says in the blurb directly under the clip “Slate V imagines [i.e. not real] a special edition Lego…” and is listed as Comedy. Anyway, whatevs, well done to the makers.

  12. progostman says:

    Did you make a new years resolution to keep your money local? Take a look at Cash back on ATM fees, % interest!

  13. zaguterbet bel says:

    Respond to this video… You know those cops beating people are actually taking out their frustrations on an target. It has nothing to do with the protestors. They really want to beat their wives and kids, and those who oppress them. But this is the only way they can get away with it so what they do. The cops are beating people who are on THEIR side, the irony is so sad.

  14. This kills me “The sale of 1% milk has declined nearly 26% since the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street protests” –

  15. dumother zlat says:

    Things I irrationally hate in this world: keeping plastic wrap on anything, checking in at hotels, that awkward time you wait between finishing a meal and paying for it and ATM fees. Thankfully, people are trying to figure out a way to kill ATM fees… with ATM I like it. More »

  16. colmbourci says:

    Was this anti-OWS or pro-OWS???? confused. The message is not clear. It seems to be pro-OWS. Is this an OWS site?

  17. Say good-bye to bank fees. That’s something everybody loves to hear and everybody wants to achieve. How much does your bank charge for ATM fees, wire transfer fee, monthly account fees, minimum balance fee, debit card transactions, additional check fee, overdraft fees or return check fees?

  18. trodiard connat says:

    Occupy Wall Street protesters protest in Union Square at the end of a march from Zuccotti Park on March 2… – –

  19. Occupy Wall Street Betting It All on May Day With Big Targets – New York Magazine: New York… –

  20. mouelffer corbar says:

    Unlike other demonstrations in the United States the Occupy Wall Street movement has survived and will continue to do so, an American activist tells Press TV.

  21. minjaniewi pinnes says:

    Just received a letter that is going to charging $2 per ATM transaction & will no longer reimburse my ATM fees!!!

  22. masa main says:

    TD BANK CUSTOMERS: If you got that note telling you that they’re adding ATM fees, get in touch with me. Please

  23. Occupy Wall Street was able to attract major media coverage. Whether you agree with them or not they have… –

  24. How the tea beat Occupy Wall Street – MarketWatch: SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — About a year ago I called… –

  25. The legendary rapper, in a new interview, says he never threw his behind the protest movement because he didn’t understand what it stood for.

  26. uebke sport says:

    People forget ATMs do not operate 4free BofA, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan sued over ATM fees | $BAC $WFC $JPM –

  27. canthiolla cou says:

    George pretends to have a tattoo to impress a woman. Kramer goes to occupy wall street, accidentally ends up working …

  28. Top banks accused of colluding on ATM fees: (Reuters) – A New Jersey man sued Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase an… –

  29. Just got a friend request from someone I assume I knew in high school. He likes Occupy Wall Street & Mitt Romney. How does that even work?

  30. there should be no fees on payments (I.e. press credit at stores), whatever your bank charges for foreign ATM fees.

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