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Spencer, Wimberly & Eustace Bill to Help Protect Consumers Against Repeated & Unfair ATM Fees Clears Assembly

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly members L. Grace Spencer, Benjie E. Wimberly and Timothy Eustace to ensure New Jerseyans aren’t forced to fall victim to repeated unfair ATM charges was approved, 68-7, by the full Assembly on Monday.

The bill (A-1346) prohibits businesses from operating an automated teller machine in this state unless the automated teller machine provides consumers with an option to withdraw $20 increments up to $200 per transaction

“Many times stores in lower-income neighborhoods underserved by banks bar people from taking out more than $20 from their ATM, for instance, thus forcing consumers to complete multiple transactions at the same ATM, all the while incurring unfair service fees,” said Spencer (D-Essex). “That is wrong and it’s time it came to a stop.”

“Many of these ATMs are in stores in lower-income neighborhoods. These ATMs are convenient, but that doesn’t give these stores the right to use them as their personal piggy banks,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Money is tight for many people. These processing fees can add up. This bill prevents these stores from benefitting at the expense of cash-strapped residents.”

“Most people are watching their spending and tightening their belts with good reason,” said Eustace (D-Bergen, Passaic). “Making someone pay several transaction fees without any real justification than to put money in the pockets of store owners is shameful and must stop. With this bill, we can end this shady practice.”

The bill provides for enforcement by the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance, who may also adopt rules and regulations to effectuate the bill’s provisions.

The bill also provides for a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per day for failure to comply with the provisions of the bill.

The bill was approved by the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance on February 22. It now goes to the Senate for further consideration.