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Exclusive   2007 Checking Study
  STATISTIC: Bounced-check fee climbs 3 percent to $28.23. Checking account  
  fees keep going up, Bankrate's survey shows.  

Banking fees up again
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Previously, the survey had been conducted twice each year. Beginning with this survey, it will now be done once per year. The survey was last conducted in fall 2006.

Bounced-check fees hit new highs
"Records are made to be broken" as the old saying goes, and there are lots of records broken in the latest edition of the checking survey.

Let's start with the punitive fees that have historically posted the most consistent increases. This survey was no exception, with the average cost for a bounced check and withdrawal from another bank's ATM reaching new highs.

The average cost of a bounced check, often referred to as a nonsufficient funds fee, climbed 3 percent since last year's survey to a record high of $28.23. Of the banks in both this year's and last year's surveys, 88 banks increased the cost of a bounced check, while just 19 banks decreased it. Also worth noting is that Bankrate.com gathers the cost of the first bounced check, and with the use of tiered structures by some banks whereby bouncing additional checks costs even more, the cost of overdrawing an account can quickly escalate.

See bounced-check fee details.

ATM surcharges
ATM surcharges routinely hit new highs, and that remains the case in this edition of the survey. The average ATM surcharge, meaning the fee ATM owners charge nonaccount holders to use the ATM, established a new high for the fourth consecutive survey, jumping from $1.64 to $1.78 in the past year.

The trend toward higher fees is unmistakable, with 43 institutions raising the cost for noncustomers to use the ATM in the past year, and just three reducing the fee.

  -- Posted: Sept. 26, 2007
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Average interest yields keep dropping
ATM fees still rising
Traditional vs. online checking
Winners and losers: Certificates of deposit
Winner or loser: Mortgage shopper
Winner or loser: Home equity loans

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