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ACM: rates charged by ATM operator Geldmaat to other banks not unreasonable, information about its services to be more transparent

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has established that the rates that Dutch ATM operator Geldmaat charges other Dutch banks for using the new (yellow) ATMs are in a reasonable proportion to the costs. Information about the rates and conditions of Geldmaat’s ATMs will be made available to all banks that would like to use its network.

What are Geldmaat’s activities?

Geldmaat operates a network of ATMs, and was founded by the major Dutch banks ABN AMRO, ING, and Rabobank. These three banks combined operate a large share of all ATMs in the Netherlands. Since 2019, the ATMs of these three banks have gradually been taken over by Geldmaat. All banks, including banks that do not operate ATMs of their own, are allowed to use this network, so that all consumers in the Nethrlands are able to use these ATMs. Geldmaat charges banks a fee for using the ATMs.

ACM’s investigation

ACM received complaints suggesting that Geldmaat charged other banks too high rates for using the network. That is why ACM launched an investigation. ACM has now established that Geldmaat’s rates are in reasonable proportion to the costs. Furthermore, other banks are able to use the network of ATMs at the same rates and under the same conditions as the three founding banks do. Moreover, the average rate that non-affiliated banks pay is lower than the rate paid by the founding banks. That is why ACM has closed the investigation into a possible violation of competition rules. ACM has had discussions with Geldmaat about possible steps on how to improve transparency vis-à-vis other banks.

Michiel Denkers, Director of ACM’s Competition Department, says: “ACM finds it important that consumers continue to be able to withdraw cash. Geldmaat is able to offer that with an efficient network of ATMs, which are evenly spread out across the country. In that context, it is important that the rates and conditions are reasonable, and that they are clear to all banks. Only then are the founding banks and the other banks able to compete on an equal basis. And that, in turn, is good for the price, quality, and innovation of financial services”.

What are the next steps for Geldmaat?

Following the discussions with ACM, Geldmaat will take several concrete steps to improve transparency:

  • Geldmaat will inform banks about the rates that Geldmaat charges and about the different services that can be taken out;
  • Geldmaat will inform banks about how it determines the rates;
  • Geldmaat will inform banks about the requirements they need to meet in order to be able to take out services (or additional services) from Geldmaat. These may include, for example, technical requirements;
  • Geldmaat provides the above information to all banks that are interested in taking out services (or additional services) from Geldmaat. In addition, Geldmaat will add information to its website about the services it offers.