Some of the most aggressive bank fees are also the most avoidable.
ATM fees hit a new high for the 11th consecutive year, according to a study of fees by personal-finance site Bankrate.com. The survey looked at 10 banks and thrifts (savings and loans associations) in each of 25 large U.S. markets: 1 interest account, 1 non-interest account and their associated ATM and debit-card fees were surveyed from 247 institutions offering checking accounts. (The American Bankers Association was not immediately available for comment.)
• The average ATM surcharge rose by 2.4% to $2.97
• The average ATM out-of-network fee spiked 3% to $1.72
• The average bank-imposed ATM fee rose 2.6% to $4.69
• Highest total ATM fees by metro was $5.91 (Pittsburgh)
• Lowest total ATM fees by metro was $4.07 (Dallas)
When you cheat on your bank by withdrawing cash from a competitor’s ATM, a warning message on the screen makes it clear customers will likely face various fees. These are among the least sticky kinds of nickel-and-diming by banks. For instance, many banks require average daily balances to qualify for free checking, impose charges for printing checks (for those who still use them) and — in some rare cases — even closing accounts.
Why are these findings important?
The combined total might shock some consumers who are usually left to pay two different fees when using an out-of-network ATM: The surcharge assessed by the ATM owner on a non-customer and the fee charged by the account holder’s own bank for using another bank’s ATM. “When it comes to ATM and overdraft fees, a little advance planning can go a long way,” said Bankrate.com chief financial analyst Greg McBride.
What other bank fees are easily avoidable?
Since 2010, federal regulation has required banks to get customers to opt in to overdraft fees, and they often receive multiple reminders that they have done so. After falling slightly in 2016, the average overdraft fee has bounced back to a new high of $33.38, up 1% from $33.04 last year, Bankrate found. The most common fee is $35, and the number of banks that increased their fee outnumbered those who lowered it by 7 to 1.
What do other studies say about bank fees?
Overdraft revenue for all depositories increased to $34 billion in the second quarter of 2017, up 1.2% from the first quarter, according to a separate study released last month by Moebs Services, an economic-research firm in Lake Bluff, Ill. The industry median overdraft price has remained at $30 per item since 2013. Following the Great Recession, the median overdraft price increased to $29 in 2012 from $26 in 2009, Moebs found.
How will ATMs be impacted by chip-enabled cards?
There are more than 400,000 ATMs in the U.S., and more than half are run by independent companies, the ATM Industry Association, a trade group, told MarketWatch. Banks that issue credit and debit cards will no longer be solely responsible for fraud, according to MasterCard MA, +0.44% Visa V, +0.19% said it will adopt the same policy starting this month. This could encourage small business owners to get rid of standalone ATM machines.