Consumers using an M&T Bank ATM at Sheetz convenience stores outside New York state will no longer have to pay a surcharge if they're not a customer, but the bank isn't making a similar move with any chain here as yet.
Effective today, Buffalo-based M&T Bank Corp. is doing away with the surcharge on its machines in Sheetz' 320 stores in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina. That will save consumers $1.50 each time they take out money if they are not an M&T customer, although they may still be charged a separate fee by their own bank.
M&T spokesman Chet Bridger said the decision represented "a new marketing initiative we've developed with Sheetz" to drive more consumers into their stores. That can ultimately benefit both the store and the bank.
The bank doesn't have plans for a similar move with any retailers in Western New York, but will evaluate how well the Sheetz effort works. "It's something we could consider when other contracts come up, based on the objectives of our other retail partners," Bridger said.
M&T also has ATMs at Noco and Wawa convenience stores, among others, and has just announced that it will replace another bank as the ATM provider at Rutter's Farm Stores, a 50-store chain based in York, Pa. Rutter's ATMs will also be free of surcharges.
The extra surcharge banks charge noncustomers for using their ATMs has become one of the most controversial and disliked fees for consumers since banks first began instituting them about 10 years ago. Since then, the average surcharge has risen steadily to the current $1.54, according to Bankrate.com, which also reported that U.S. consumers paid $4.3 billion in fees last year for using ATMs not owned by their own bank.
Today there are 371,000 ATMs nationwide, both on and off bank branch premises, according to Boston-based Dove Consulting. Consumers conducted 11 billion ATM transactions in 2004.
M&T also said it will begin replacing the Sheetz ATMs this spring with newer touch-screen machines that will also dispense stamps. The machines will also offer Spanish language and will be voice-enabled for the visually impaired. The new machines are expected to be installed by the fall.