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SPEAK OUT: ATM, Checking Fees Hit Record Highs

The average cost of an out-of-network ATM transaction is $4.07. Should something be done?

Fees on checking accounts hit an all-time high in 2012, reports the financial website Bankrate.com, with much of the increase coming in charges for use of out-of-network ATMs.

According to the site, the average fee assessed by the owner of a foreign ATM climbed 4 percent this year to $2.50.

Combined with the typical charge by a consumer's own bank for an out-of-network withdrawal—$1.57, up 11 percent—the average cost per transaction now stands at a whopping $4.07.

And for the first time ever, all financial institutions surveyed by Bankrate.com reported charging non-customers for ATM transactions.

Other checking account expenses—such as maintenance fees and non-sufficient funds fees—also have risen, due in part to banks' response to new regulations capping overdraft fees.

The Washington metropolitan area may not have made the list of the five worst cities for out-of-network charges, but there's certainly no shortage of foreign ATM fees in the region.

Do you typically swallow the fee, or are you careful to withdraw money only from your own bank? What do you do if you're caught in a pinch? And should lawmakers look to cap ATM fees as well, or are they simply a part of the business?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

steve September 25, 2012 at 11:37 AM
Free checking and ATM fees are marketing tools - they arent really free banks use them to aquire customers. Some of the push in costs for atm fees comes from banks looking to make up lost revenue from the swipe fees that were legislated out i n the last attempt at cost controls by our omnipresent government regulations. ATms are likely to disappear in the future anyway - more electronic wallets, credit cards will reduce the number of ATM customers and banks will havea hard time justifying so many ATM locations and the costs will naturally increase.
David Lange September 25, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Easy solution to ATM fees - join a credit union. NO fees, and there are 40,000 ATMs nationally in the credit union network - including the ATMs in the 7-11 stores! David Lange
The_legal_immigrant September 25, 2012 at 01:15 PM
@ John Davisson: Are all other other issues solved and we can now was time talking about $4 fees? Why don't you offer this for discussion: http://news.investors.com/092412-626848-health-premiums-up-3065-obama-vowed-2500-cut.aspx
Polly September 25, 2012 at 02:28 PM
I'm with Fran and David. Join a credit union as millions of other former bank customers have done. And this is from a former big bank official of 20 years that saw from the inside how banks operate. As a credit union member the board answers to you, not shareholders. I've been a very happy credit union member for many years and I've found them to be among the most credible.
Tim Miller September 25, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Frank, the reason banks charge for ATM is very very simple. I know it, other people know it & most importantly, the banks know it, What is it? "PEOPLE ARE LAZY" They won't even walk in the bank when it's across the street when an ATM is right in front of them. Also it's a convenience thing. So no this does not need to be regulated, if people will pay $10.00 just to take out $20.00 than so be it. That's on the consumer to choose to pay the fees or not. And for all the whinny everyone is doing about these "BIG BAD BANKS", they are not leaving them for the so called "Better Banks".

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