Cashpoint fees on the horizon

AFTER A year in which Portuguese banks were the only sector of the economy to register excellent profits, banks now want to charge clients for Multibanco cashpoint withdrawals.

The Bank of Portugal says that banks may well introduce withdrawal commissions as a way of reducing operational costs. “Abroad, banks charge the public for cashpoint withdrawals from machines other than the customer’s own bank. I think we should go down that road,” said Norberto Rosa, administrator at Caixa Geral de Depósitos bank, last week at a seminar entitled ‘The future of bank payment systems in Europe’.

This position was also maintained by Portugal’s largest family-held bank, Banco Espírito Santo. Its administrator, António do Souto, said: “Operations should carry a price tag in line with what they cost the banks.”

Santander’s Eduardo Stock da Cunha said that only by charging the public commissions on withdrawals would the banking sector be able to maintain the high quality of its services. He said that Portugal’s financial distribution system was already too costly and gravely so.