Average ATM fees rise in US, but not by much
The average cost to U.S. consumers for getting cash outside of their ATM network is $4.13 — a new high, and a 2 percent increase over last year, according to the 16th annual checking survey by Bankrate.com. Also, the average overdraft fee is up for a 15th consecutive year, increasing 3 percent to a record-high $32.20.
"The higher overdraft and ATM fees roughly correlate with the rate of inflation," said Bankrate.com senior financial analyst Greg McBride, CFA. "And while free checking isn't as common as it was just a few years ago, the decline slowed to a trickle this year."
While the average ATM surcharge rose 4 percent to $2.60 over the past 12 months, the average foreign fee fell three percent to $1.53 (i.e., the fee assessed by the ATM owner and fee charged by the card-issuing bank).
Bankrate found the highest ATM rates in Denver ($4.70) and the lowest in Baltimore ($3.59) — an overall difference of $1.11.
The availability of free checking has fallen four years in a row after peaking at 76 percent in 2009. Availability fell to 65 percent in 2010 and 45 percent in 2011. In 2012, availability fell by only 6 percent (to 39 percent), and in 2013, the decline was just 1 percent (to 38 percent).
Ninety-seven percent of checking accounts are either free or can become free if the accountholder meets certain requirements such as direct deposit (the most common option for non-interest accounts) or a minimum balance (the most common for interest accounts).
Only 3 percent of interest-bearing checking accounts are free to all customers, though in many cases the fee is waived for customers who meet a minimum balance requirement ($5,802 on average, down 5 percent from last year).
Debit card fees
Debit card fees assessed at the point of sale remain rare. Only 4 percent of checking accounts charge such a fee, most commonly for PIN use. Fewer than 1 percent of accounts imposed a debit card fee, the same as last year.
Bankrate is a publisher, aggregator, and distributor of personal finance content on the Internet. Its 16th annual checking survey was carried out in August and included 10 banks and thrifts in each of 25 large U.S. markets.
Read more about trends and statistics.