A Wagga man hit with over the counter bank fees has accused banks of disincentivising face-to-face contact in order to phase out workers.
Patrick Chaplain said he felt “cheated” after he noticed a $2.50 charge for several “staff assisted withdrawals” on his most recent Commonwealth Bank statement.
“I was a bit stunned. I already have to pay fees unless I have a certain amount in the bank,” Mr Chaplain said.
“It’s just ridiculous.”
After going through his statement with a fine tooth comb, Mr Chaplain discovered he had paid out a total of $32.50 for visiting the counter 13 times after losing his bank card.
Mr Chaplain said he expected to be informed about the withdrawal fee, just as he was warned about a $2.50 printed statement charge.
“I accidentally stumbled across the fee on my statement, there had been no indication of the fee,” Mr Chaplain said.
“If they sent a letter or something it must have been buried in the fine print.”
A Commonwealth Bank spokesman said just two per cent of transactions were taking place in a branch.
“We know customers increasingly want to bank with us at a time and place that is convenient for them,” the spokesman said.
“We offer free electronic transactions to all our customers and some accounts, including our Pensioner Security and Youthsaver accounts, provide customers with some free assisted transactions each month.”
The spokesman said information about all fees and conditions can be found in the Commonwealth Bank’s terms and conditions.
While Mr Chaplain said it was inconvenient for him to use online banking as he had no computer at home, his main concern was for the elderly.
“The lack of human interaction is a real problem for senior citizens,” Mr Chaplain said.
“It seems they are trying to phase out workers, just like the supermarkets.”
Mr Chaplain said the fees would deter the elderly from visiting their banks.
“It’s part of their routine and social life, they can’t just take that away,” Mr Chaplain said.
Hume Bank executive officer David Marshall said the focus should be on customer’s needs.
“We offer an essentials account which doesn’t charge over the counter fees,” Mr Marshall told The Daily Advertiser.
“It’s about offering a balance because a lot of customers prefer the internet but some people wish to do their banking in person.”