checking
Bounced-check fees soar

This is Bankrate's 19th Checking Study and only twice in the span of 10 years have nonsufficient funds fees, or NSF fees, failed to rise. So, once again, we get to say they're at an all-time high.

Bounce a check and you'll pay an average $28.95. That's 2.5 percent higher than last year. If you're lucky, that's all you'll pay. Too often, even occasional check bouncers fall victim to banks' practice of paying the largest check first when they're clearing several checks received around the same time. If that first check drains your account and there are three or four smaller checks behind it, you'll get clipped for multiple NSF fees.

Average nonsufficient fund fee
bouncedchecks

ATM and debit cards can make balancing a checkbook a challenge because you may forget to deduct the withdrawal or the purchase. Unless you routinely check your balance online, it's easy to overdraw your account.

Methodology: Bankrate.com surveyed one interest checking account and one noninterest checking account at the largest banks and thrifts in each of 25 large markets to find the latest trends on checking account and ATM fees. There were 247 interest accounts and 226 noninterest accounts surveyed at 249 banks and thrifts in the top 25 metropolitan areas.

Bankrate.com also looked at 22 checking accounts at 18 institutions offering online accounts and compared them to their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

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