It looks unlikely New Zealand banks will follow the lead of their Australian counterparts and scrap ATM fees.

Australia's four biggest banks bowed to years of consumer pressure and abolished the ATM withdrawal fees for customers of other banks.

The Commonwealth Bank was the first strike, making an announcement early on Sunday that it would axe the A$2 ($2.15) fee that applied to any user who was not using a CommBank key card.

Westpac, the ANZ and National Australian Bank followed suit later in the day.


All four banks cited the unpopularity of the fee with consumers, who were forking out A$500 million a year for withdrawing their own cash.

The New Zealand operations were less hurried, citing major differences in the charging arrangements between this country and Australia.

Westpac NZ said it was looking at the developments in Australia "with interest".

"We need to consider the charging arrangements between banks in New Zealand which are very different to those in Australia, and certainly more complex," spokesman Will Hine said.

"We're always looking for ways to better meet the needs of our customers. This year we removed or reduced 11 banking fees in direct response to customer feedback, ensuring our fees are fair and easy to understand," Hine said.

ASB said it was aware of the changes over the weekend, but would not say if any changes were planned.

The New Zealand operations of ANZ said the cost and revenue structure of ATMs in Australia was different to New Zealand.

"New Zealand's competitive banking industry means we have a high ATM accessibility," spokesman Stefan Herrick said.


"ANZ has invested heavily to ensure its customers can access NZ's largest ATM network and enjoy fee free withdrawals," Herrick said.

ANZ also said fees for using other banks' ATMS were lower in New Zealand than what was charged in Australia.

Andrew Hooker, the lawyer who fronted Fair Play on Fees' legal action against ANZ, said what the banks were charging was not unlawful but it was a moral problem.

"I can't see why it would be any different in Australia, so the simple question is the ANZ in Australia have seen fit to drop the charge so why not New Zealand?" Hooker said.

"I can't understand why they think it's fair to charge Kiwis when they don't charge Australians," he said.