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.
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 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
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.