July 2018 – Bank transaction fees

Banks generally do not charge a transaction fee when depositing money into a bank account by cheque or by cash at a branch of the bank.  In our case, we use Macquarie bank and the DEFT system for our fully managed and bookkeeper clients.  Macquarie bank does not have their own branch network and uses the Australia Post outlets to perform that function.  Macquarie does deduct a transaction fee ($2.75) when lot owners pay their levy at the post office using the DEFT system.  There is no deduction if the lot owner pays by BPAY or by direct debit.

The percentage of people paying a levy at Post Office is less than 5% but the demographic using this service is highly skewed compared to the entire lot owner population.  Given that many older lot owners are not electronically capable and are also part of a demographic sector that is least able to afford transaction fees, this can seem discriminatory.  Consequently, when we onboard a new client, we give the committee an opportunity to consider a motion that redresses this transaction fee.

Whilst the committee can waive penalties, discounts and debt recovery fees, they can not waive a component of a levy.  The impact of paying the expected levy at the Post office is to leave a residual amount of levy owing against the lot ledger.  We suggest committees pass a resolution that the body corporate considers all Australia Post retail outlets to be integrated branches of the Macquarie bank network and as such all transaction fees associated with payments made by cash or by cheque through the Australia post outlets into the bank account of the body corporate shall be considered an expense of the body corporate.

Once resolved, our system software is enabled to ensure that the correct balances appear against the lot ledger and that the transaction fees are assigned to the bank charges expense account of the body corporate.  We think this resolution would easily pass the reasonable test whilst the majority of other banks continue to not impose a transaction fee for paying in money over the branch counter by cash or cheque.