NDP steps up battle against ATM fees

The NDP is renewing its mission to cap ATM fees, saying the cost of withdrawing cash at bank machines should be capped at 50 cents per transaction.

Motion calling for fee cap to be debated in the Commons on Monday

The NDP is renewing its mission to cap ATM fees.

A motion calling for the cap will be debated in the House of Commons on Monday. It urges the Conservative government to take action on ATM fees in its upcoming federal budget.

Glenn Thibeault, the NDP's consumer affairs critics, says Canadians shouldn't have to pay two or three dollars to withdraw their own money from bank machines — particularly when it costs banks as little as 36 cents to complete the transaction.

The NDP proposal would cap ATM withdrawal fees at 50 cents per transaction.

The Conservative government promised in last fall's throne speech to rein in banking fees. (Reuters)

During question period in the House of Commons last week, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper whether the budget, to be tabled Feb. 11, will tackle the issue of ATM fees.

Mulcair asked Harper whether he'd make good on his promise in last fall's throne speech to rein in basic banking fees and fees at ATMs and on credit cards.

Harper responded by saying that his government has raised concerns about "certain banking fees and practices on consumers and small business." But he didn't say whether the budget would address ATM fees.

October's Throne Speech also included a pledge by the government to outlaw charges levied by banks on customers who receive paper bills. There's been no legislation, however, on the issue.

The NDP has long called for a cap of ATM fees. In 2007, former leader Jack Layton announced a national campaign to mobilize consumers in a fight against the country's big banks.

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