ATM surcharges also rise predictably, and this year the average, $1.97, is nearly 10 percent higher than last year’s average of $1.78. The surcharge is a fee the owner of the ATM charges nonaccount holders. In other words, if you’re a Bank A customer and you use Bank B’s ATM; Bank B will zap your account with a surcharge.
Don’t count on being near an ATM that doesn’t have a surcharge when you need some cash; 99.2 percent of ATMs surcharge.
Running out of cash when a branch of your bank is nowhere in sight is especially costly because most banks charge their customers for using another company’s ATM. The average fee for that is $1.46, up from $1.25 a year ago. So expect to get dinged on both ends.
Banks rake in billions of dollars annually in ATM fees. Why contribute to that? These are fees that are easily avoidable with a little bit of planning. Estimate your cash needs for the day or the week, or your vacation, and make a point of using your bank’s ATMs. In a pinch, you can get small amounts of cash when you make debit transactions at many businesses, but if you end up buying something pricey you don’t need, it may defeat the purpose.
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.