ATMs In Tonga Unable To Charge Customers New Foreign Currency Levy

Banks currently absorbing extra cost of tax

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, June 15, 2016) – The banks’ Automatic Teller Machines (ATM’s) in Tonga are not able to add on a charge for the government’s new Foreign Exchange Levy introduced on June 1, and the banks are absorbing the cost of the levy on overseas transactions made through ATMs.

“ATM’s do not have the capacity, as yet, to charge the Levy and as a result both ANZ and BSP are absorbing the levy for these electronic transactions until we can build the software to cater for same,” said the Chairman of the Association of Banks in Tonga, Bernie Poort, today.

He was commenting on a complaint made on Facebook by David Corbett that he lost TOP$31 [US$14] on drawing TOP$440 [US$193] in two drawings from an ATM from overseas account up after levy was imposed in June.

However, Bernie explained that the charge experienced by Mr Corbett was not the levy.

“Definitely not all levy. Levy Fee would only total $2.20 on those transactions. Most likely [it’s an] ATM fee for accessing another bank account offshore. For example, if a Westpac Customer from Australia uses one of our ATM’s here in Tonga to access their AUD account, the fee is $12.00. ANZ to overseas ANZ would be free. BSP have their own charges. ATM’s do not have the capacity as yet to charge the Levy…”, he said.

In response, David Corbett says that he has noticed an increase in the charges on foreign transactions made at the ATM.

The government's foreign exchange levy was introduced this month to raise money for Tonga's hosting of the 2019 South Pacific Games.

Matangi Tonga Magazine
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