Sabadell, Bankia and several other Spanish banks said yesterday they would pool their ATMs and offer customers cheaper withdrawals, countering an unpopular move to bring in new fees by larger rivals.

Spanish banks face a tough task jump-starting returns after an economic slump, pushing many to undercut each other to lure clients in an overcrowded market while cutting costs.

Cash withdrawal fees are the latest front, pitting banks against each other as large lenders such as Caixabank announce increased ATM charges for competitors’ customers.

Ten banks will team up for the cash machine alliance, according to Sabadell, Bankia and the EURO 6000 network which includes small savings banks.

Those within the partnership will allow their customers to withdraw at lower percentage charges than before across the whole network, which includes 17,730 ATMs, or about 37 per cent of all cash machines in the country. Spain’s three biggest banks Santander, BBVA  and Caixabank hold another 45 per cent.

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Lennart Bjolgerud / Hace over 6 years

I have yet to come across another country in Europe where banks charge for competitor cash machine withdrawals and find the practice extremely predatory. Its surprising that in the myriad of Pan-European legislations to abandon abusive fees across business sectors, these debit card fees have not been tackled.