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ATM & NSF Fees: Up, Up, Up & Away!

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ATM & NSF Fees: Up, Up, Up & Away!If you ever consider using an ATM that is deemed an out-of-network ATM by your financial institution, then be prepared to take it from both ends.

There are two different ATM fees that consumers typically encounter when using an out-of-network ATM: the ATM surcharge assessed by the ATM owner and the fee that one’s own bank charges for using an out-of-network ATM (often known as the foreign fee).

The Good News is you can beat the nusiance fees by knowing what your bank considers an out-of-network ATM. The Bad News is if you encounter these fees they are reaching historical highs.

A new survey has found that the average out-of-network ATM fee has climbed to an eight year high, jumping 23% over the past five years. The average cost of going outside the network is now $4.35 per transaction.

The survey found the average ATM surcharge jumped seven percent to $2.77 per transaction, a record high according to Bankrate.com’s 17th annual checking survey. The average surcharge has increased for 10 consecutive years. The most common fee is $3. Every institution in the survey with ATMs charges non-customers for usage.

The average fee assessed by one’s own financial institution for going outside the ATM network increased three percent to $1.58, also a new high. Over the past eight years, the most common fee was $2. The most common fee now, by a wide margin, is $2.50.

The average overdraft fee set a new record high for the 16th consecutive year, at $32.74.

Nearly four out of ten non-interest checking accounts are completely free, which is unchanged from last year and little changed from 39% in 2012. This halts a four-year streak of declines from the peak of 76% in 2009. If certain requirements are met (such as direct deposit, maintaining a minimum balance, bill pay activity, etc.), 95% of non-interest checking accounts are either free or can become free.

The average minimum balance required to open a non-interest checking account rose nine percent over the past 12 months to $66. The average minimum balance to avoid fees decreased one percent to $661. And the average monthly service fee for a non-interest checking account declined five percent to $5.26.

Only four percent of interest checking accounts are free for all customers, but 99% will waive the fee if conditions are met (most commonly if the accountholder meets a minimum balance requirement averaging $6,211, up seven percent from last year). The average monthly service fee nudged up one percent to $14.76. The average yield is just 0.04%, a new record low.

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