Senator proposes cap on ATM fees

An Iowa Senator wants to put a limit on how much ATMs can charge people for using them but not everyone is happy to hear his plan.

Senator Tom Harkin is asking, “how many times have you gone to an ATM machine to take money out of your own account and you get charged $2.00 or $2.50.  Maybe sometimes as high as $5.00, just to take money out of your account?”

Harkin says he has a solution.  He says it only costs about $0.35 to process an ATM transaction.  He's proposing an amendment to the Senate's finance reform bill that would put a cap on how much ATMS's can charge at $0.50.

Kirk Hemphill of Lincoln backs the idea.  “I particularly choose my bank and the ATM locations I go to avoid paying anything extra.  It's my money, I shouldn't have to pay for it.”

ATM Industry Association President Kirk Helwig looks at it differently.  In a letter to Senate Banking Committee Chair Christopher Dodd, he wrote, “artificially restricting the marketplace will result in far fewer ATMs and deprive consumers of choice, convenience and industry innovation.”

Helwig also believes jobs could be lost in the ATM industry.

Zac Granfield of Lincoln wonders if that's true.  “I don't think there would be anything extreme, like cutting jobs.  I could see them waiving other things, things like waiving an overdraft once a month of once a quarter.”

Harkin's amendment is one of hundreds,already proposed to the Senate's finance reform bill so it is possible that the cap may not even be enacted.