NEW YORK--Banks are charging non-customers more than ever before to use their ATMs, according to the latest Bankrate.com checking account and ATM fee study.
The average surcharge assessed by the ATM owner for an out-of-network transaction has risen for the 14th consecutive year, from $2.97 to $3.02, and has increased 53% over the last decade, according to Bankrate.com.
According to the survey, which can be found here,
- The fee charged by the accountholder's own bank for using another institution’s ATM is $1.66, making the total average cost of an out-of-network ATM withdrawal $4.68, down a penny from last year’s all-time high. This all-in cost has risen 36% over the past decade.
- The average overdraft fee is $33.23, second highest on record. Despite the decline in the average fee, the number of fee increases outnumbered decreases in the survey. The most common fee remains $35 for the 10th year in a row, Bankrate said
- Detroit has the highest average out-of-network ATM fee of the top 25 major metro areas ($5.28), while St. Louis has the lowest ($4.25). Philadelphia has the highest average overdraft fee ($35.30), and San Francisco has the lowest ($31.44)
- 41% of non-interest checking accounts are free by default, down from 73% a decade ago
“While ATM and overdraft fees are down slightly overall, these charges can add up fast. They do, however, remain completely avoidable and with minimal effort,” said Bankrate.com Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride in a statement. “Knowing how much money is available to withdraw and finding the nearest in-network ATM is as easy as checking your smartphone.”
Other findings, according to Bankrate.com:
- 41% of non-interest checking accounts are free by default, up from 38% each of the past two years, but down from 73% a decade ago. “The average monthly service fee ($5.57) is the lowest since 2014, and the average balance required to avoid the fee ($631) is the lowest since 2011,” Bankrate said. Fifty-seven percent of non-interest accounts will waive the monthly fee, including 40% that will do so based on direct deposit. Altogether, 98% of non-interest accounts are either free or can become free.
- Just 8% of interest checking accounts are free without stipulation. While 74% will waive the service fee ($14.35, on average) with a minimum balance requirement, the average threshold is a hefty $6,319. Another one-in-six will waive the fee with direct deposit. Interest earnings on checking accounts remain negligible, with the average yield up to .07% from .06% last year, but down from .24% a decade ago.
- Just 2.5% of all accounts assess a fee on debit card transactions at the point-of-sale, and in all cases, this is only for PIN-debit transactions. These fees range from $0.35-$2. Among accounts surveyed, signature-based debit transactions are never assessed a fee, Bankrate.com said.
“Rarely does a checking account pay enough interest to warrant maintaining a larger balance than necessary,” McBride added. “