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Checking account fees rise but less steeply

Checking » Checking Account » Checking Account Fees Rise But Less Steeply

ATM fees rise to an all-time high

ATM fees rise to an all-time high

ATM fees also hit an all-time high in Bankrate's Checking Survey.

Banks now charge noncustomers an average of $2.60 to use their ATMs, up from $2.50 last year. The average fee your own bank will charge you for going out of network is actually down a few percentage points from last year, to $1.53, but combined, you'll pay a total of $4.13 to make a withdrawal at an out-of-network ATM.

All told, the fee that banks charge noncustomers to use their ATMs has risen by nearly a third since 2008. That those fee hikes coincide almost perfectly with the Federal Reserve's massive push to depress interest rates is no coincidence, says Jim Johannes, director of the Puelicher Center for Banking Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"If you're making less money on the interest side of the bank and you need to increase cash flows to satisfy investors, the only real way you can do that is to make it up in fee income," Johannes says.

Still, McBride says avoiding ATM fees is as easy as making a weekly routine of running to your bank's ATM or to one your bank is affiliated with.

"Friday night comes at the same time every week, so there's no real reason for you to repeatedly find yourself in a pinch for cash and then have to go to an out-of-network ATM," McBride says.

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