Bpost Bank, a subsidiary of the part state-owned national postal authority, has withdrawn plans to charge some clients for withdrawing money from cash machines, following negative reactions. Bpost had announced it planned to introduce a 50 cent charge for anyone withdrawing money from their account – including at Bpost’s own cash machines. The charge would come into force on 18 March and affect holders of a b.compact account. One withdrawal a month would be free.
Kris Peeters, minister for both economy and consumer affairs, reacted immediately, tweeting a reminder of the agreement reached by the banking sector in 2004, under which customers would be allowed to make 24 free withdrawals a year from machines at branches of their own bank.
“We realise we were too quick to take this decision, and we underestimated the importance of free withdrawals to our customers,” Bpost said in a statement. “In order to respond to the concerns of our clientele, Bpost Bank has therefore decided not to apply this amendment to our tariffs.”
Peeters responded, again on Twitter: “Bpost has withdrawn its decision to charge for cash withdrawals. A good decision to abide by the agreement giving customers at least 24 free withdrawals a year.”
All of the main banks in Belgium offer free withdrawals without limit in number from cash machines at their own branches. The main exception following the Bpost decision is Keytradebank, which pays account holders 50 cents every time they take money from any machine in the country.
The majority of banks also charge nothing for withdrawals from machines at other banks. Exceptions are KBC, which charges 20 cents, and ING, charging 50 cents.