Bank ATM surcharges leap

Slapping a fee on your tab every time you use an ATM that doesn’t belong to your bank is another way banks generate fee income. According to our 2009 Checking Study, this year the average fee leapt 12.6 percent to $2.22. Nearly 99 percent of banks impose a surcharge, but that’s not all you’ll get stuck with if you practice this unfortunate behavior.

Not only will the bank that owns the ATM charge you, your own bank also is quite likely to ding you with an average fee of $1.32 for using someone else’s ATM. The good news is that fee dropped from last year’s $1.46. This is due to a number of banks reducing or waiving this fee. Approximately 72 percent of banks charge customers this fee.

Average ATM surcharge up 12.6 percent

Most consumers can avoid the fees we’ve addressed in this report with just a little bit of effort. Read the Bankrate feature “6 tips to avoid checking account fees” and start saving money.

Average fee to use other ATM costs less

Methodology surveyed the five largest banks and the five largest thrifts, based on deposits, in the top 25 metropolitan markets across the country. We looked at one interest and one noninterest checking account from each institution where available. In all, there were 245 interest accounts and 228 noninterest accounts from 248 institutions. In addition, 16 interest accounts and five noninterest accounts were surveyed from 17 online banks. The surveys were conducted during August 2009.

Check out the results of our 2009 Checking Study for more information.