Updated with comments from BOV and HSBC
If, like many Maltese person, you live near an ATM that does not belong to your bank, you can expect to be walking (or driving) a whole lot more come come February 1st.
Charges starting at €2.50 and going up as high as €3 +0.33 per cent of the amount withdrawn are set to return to Maltese banks shortly – that is, if you choose to withdraw from a bank that you do not have an account with.
That means if you have an account with HSBC, and you use a BOV ATM to withdraw your money, you will be hit with this charge.
Not only that, but HSBC is planning on replacing all their Quikcash cards with international debit cards, with all the designated cards to be replaced by the end of 2018.
These charges come after the rollout of the European Union’s Payments Service Directive 2, which hopes to make bank systems more secure, transparent, and increase consumer protection.
These charges were always in place, but had been waived for users of certain cards. However, with the replacement of those cards, the charges will be returning.
The EU Directive does not force any banks to add or increase charges.
What this translates to, however, is forcing users to stick to their bank’s ATM, or face a charge on their withdrawal. And this is being implemented all over Europe.
If you use a BOV card on another bank’s ATM, expect a €3 plus 0.33 per cent charge.
If you use an HSBC card on another bank’s ATM, expect a €2.50 charge.
A BOV spokesperson told Lovin Malta that “no new charge is being introduced by the bank,” but rather a longstanding “reciprocity agreement no longer applies. Should BOV customers use their BOV debit card at any BOV ATM, no charge will apply. However if they use the VISA branded cards at HSBC ATMs, the relative charge of EUR3 (plus 0.33% of amount withdrawn), which has been in place for a number of years, will apply.”
An HSBC spokesman told the Times of Malta that customers making use of Advance or Premier accounts could make withdrawals with their Visa Electron debit card free of any charges, both in Malta and abroad.
He also said that until the Quikcash cards were replaced, they were still usable in shops around the Maltese islands.