Fees at ATMs Soaring

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Drawing out cash at an ATM is starting to seem like something from the past, with those who still do it paying a hefty price to do so.

This year is the 11th straight year of increases in ATM fees by banks for customers using machines that are not in their network, according to a new report from Bankrate.com.

Over the last decade, ATM fees have increased by 55%. The average fees paid for an out-of-network transaction is not more than $4.50.

Fees for using ATMs are not increasing due to the demand being so high. In fact, it is just the opposite. It continues becoming easier to avoid fees, and people are shifting away from using cash, said chief analyst at Bankrate.com Greg McBride.

With less people making out-of-network withdrawals at ATMs, the cost for maintaining the network is now spread out over a lower number of transactions.

The report just released looked at the 10 largest banks located in the 25 top metro areas to find what locations have the highest charges to use the ATM and where there are less expensive fees.

Pittsburgh has the fees with the highest average, with customers dishing out on average $5.19 per transaction, when the fees charged by the ATM are combined with fees the consumers own bank charges. The lowest fees on average were in Dallas at just over $4.07.

Customers that have higher balances in their accounts or a number of accounts at one bank, as in checking, personal loan or a mortgage, might avoid paying out-of-network charges from their own bank or have some reimbursed.

The average fee for an overdraft is at an all-time high of $33.38 which is up from the 2016 average of $33.04. Consumers in Philadelphia pay the highest overdraft fees on average at $35.31, while the lowest of the 25 metro areas surveyed was San Francisco at $31.44.

Banks increasing the overdraft fees in 2016 outnumbered those lowering the fees by a margin of more than seven to one.

Overdraft fees were focused on by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in its recent report. Consumers who pay higher overdraft fees are those who are more likely to be credit-strained, have lower scores on credit reports, and less apt to have a credit card for general purposes, found the report.

That means the overdraft fees they pay could weight even more heavily on finances that are already fragile at best.

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