Sunday, February 25, 2024

6 national banks join forces to offer commission-free ATMs

You might find yourself shelling out fewer pesos in ATM withdrawal fees if you bank in Mexico with HSBC, Scotiabank, Inbursa, Banregio, Banca Mifel or Banco del Bajío — who announced the launch of an alliance to allow users from said banks to withdraw cash and check balances without charging commissions.

The Multired network, which will encompass more than 13.2 million customers, will incorporate 9,352 ATMs. That represents around 15.5% of the more than 60,000 ATMs in Mexico’s financial system, the financial publication Forbes reported.

In addition, users can now find ATM locations for all the member banks in their own financial institution’s app.

According to El Financiero, the alliance has existed since 2021. However, it was not until January that HSBC joined. 

Deputy General Director of Consumer Banking for HSBC Pablo Elek told the newspaper that on average, the commission for withdrawing cash or checking balances at ATMs from a different bank than the user’s credit or debit card, is between 27 and 30 pesos (US $1.92 – $1.60).

Demand for cash in Mexico keeps growing although the rate is lower than pre-pandemic times, the newspaper La Jornada Maya said. Many bank users still go to branches to check balances or withdraw cash, even when the bank’s system has shifted towards integrating digital technology, Elek said. 

HSBC is the latest bank to join the alliance. It became part of the Multired network just this month.

As many as 49% of bank users still go to ATMs between one and five times per month to withdraw cash, he said.

“Transactions at ATMs are a reality,” he said. “More than 85 percent of transactions under 500 pesos continue to be in cash. Cash continues to circulate.”

According to Bank of Mexico data, Mexicans carry out more than 153 million interbank operations with debit or credit cards worth 463 billion pesos (US $24.3 billion) each year.

Scotiabank’s Deputy General Director of Consumer Banking Fuad Juan Fernández said that the group is open to more banks joining the initiative.

 With reports from La Jornada Maya and El Financiero

CORRECTION: The original version of this article contained a calculation error regarding the value of 463 billion pesos in U.S. dollars at the time of publication. The correct value should have been US $24.3 billion.  

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