Avoid Atlanta’s high bank fees

Do you ever feel like your bank is getting over on you? Now you have proof.

Banks in Atlanta charge their own customers more to use an out-of-network ATM than banks in any other city except Philadelphia. Atlanta banks also have the third-highest average charges for overdraft fees.

The percentage of free checking accounts offered by banks is dropping as well — only 39 percent of non-interest checking accounts are free of charge.

There are also some sneaky fees banks charge that could sneak by you:

Offline help: I discovered this not long ago when I strolled up to a teller window for assistance. Um, no. That would have cost about $3, but they waived the fee due to my ignorance. My solution was to stick with ATM transactions but we know how far that gets you in Atlanta.

Mobile deposits:  Some banks have now introduced apps for mobile check deposits, which is cool now that I own a smartphone, but if they aren’t already charging for this convenience, some banks may introduce fees in the future.

So, what can you do about all of this?

  • Read your statement to identify any fees and read mail from your bank even if it looks like junk, it could be a notice about fee changes.
  • Identify convenient in-network ATMs and use them.
  • Transfer funds from savings to checking when you have big expenses to avoid overdraft fees.
  • Consider credit unions which aren’t for everyone, but typically have lower fees and minimums than large banks.

Do you have a sneaky bank fee story? What did you do about it?

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– Nedra Rhone, for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

5 comments Add your comment

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not happy

September 26th, 2012
7:14 am

Wire transfers from my business account cost $70, but would only cost $25 from a regular personal account and $0 from a 2nd-tier personal account. It’s the SAME procedure.

Businesses should not be viewed as cash cows. They should be treated as valued customers.

mystery poster

September 26th, 2012
9:33 am

Why would a credit union not be for everyone? They offer the same services as banks.

Nedra Rhone

September 26th, 2012
9:48 am

@mystery poster Good question! Anyone have thoughts on banks vs credit unions?


September 26th, 2012
11:01 am

The advantage banks have over credit unions is the number of branch locations and the hours. I don’t trust ATMs when depositing money. I’d rather do person to person transactions. If you are on top of your banking then you won’t pay any fees.