10:10 am September 24, 2012, by David Markiewicz
At $1.95, Atlanta banks charge their own customers more to use an out-of-network ATM than banks do in all but one other city, a new survey from Bankrate.com shows. Philadelphia banks charge $1.96. In Chicago, it’s only $1.10.
Atlanta ATM operators also levy an average surcharge of $2.40 to users who are non-customers, although that’s not the highest in the nation. The average ATM surcharge to non-customers is $2.50.
The average ATM surcharge in the U.S. has increased eight straight years.
Atlanta also has the third-highest average overdraft fee in the country at $32.70. Only Denver and Houston have higher average fees for non-sufficient funds.
High bank fees have become a key issue for consumers.
Nationwide, the percentage of free checking accounts offered by banks continues to decline. Bankrate.com said only 39 percent of non-interest checking accounts are available to all customers free of charge. That’s down from 45 percent last year and 76 percent in 2009.
The average monthly service fee on non-interest checking accounts nationally is $5.48, up 25 percent from last year. The average balance need to avoid the fee is $723, up 23 percent. On interest accounts, it’s $14.75, up four percent, with $6,117 needed to avoid the fee, up nine percent.
Bankrate surveyed 10 banks and thrifts in each of 25 large metro markets.
“Checking accounts that are free on a stand-alone basis continue to diminish,” said Greg McBride, Bankrate.com senior financial analyst. “But a free checking account is still within reach of the majority of Americans, whether by getting the fee waived through direct deposit or moving to a bank or credit union that still offers free checking. And consumers that practice good financial habits should rarely _ if ever _ incur ATM and overdraft fees.”
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