Atlanta No. 2 in ATM fees for customers

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 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. 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, 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.”

33 comments Add your comment


September 24th, 2012
10:28 am

Ah, just yet another example of what happens when government starts making laws on the maximum amounts business can charge for things. If you didn’t see this one coming, then you are very much out of touch with reality. Most intelligent folks knew this was coming the day the new “consumer friendly” laws were passed on maximum fees banks can charge for things. But, there are always those that just love to actually believe the stuff Washington keeps doing to “help us out.” Just the kind of “help” from our lawmakers that we don’t need nor can afford!

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September 24th, 2012
1:38 pm

Waaah, a bank that you don’t have to be at is setting up rules that you don’t have to follow if you don’t want to. Waaaah.

Fees are fees. You either agreed to them when you opened the account, or agreed to the changes they mail to you once every 3 months by not closing that account.

If you’re getting hammered with over draft fees over and over again, then you aren’t responsible enough to maintain a bank account. If you mess up one time, banks will generally work with you or forgive the fees charged from the mistake.

Short of finding yourself at a cash only place of business, I don’t see why ATM fees are such a big deal for people either. Why would you need to be using an ATM to get cash on that frequent of a basis that it would be causing you financial harm? And if you do for some reason need to withdraw cash that frequently, then go to one of your banks to get it from their ATM.

Banks don’t like babysitting their customers any more than the customers like being baby sat. But just like with every other thing in life, you don’t really start paying attention until it costs you directly. Guess their points are being made. Pay Winn Dixie or Kroger $3 to cash your payroll check and be done with it. Then you’ll simply have to be responsible for your money instead of the bank.


September 24th, 2012
2:45 pm

Another reason to dump your bank and move to a credit union. Only credit unions offer non-surcharging ATM networks (CU24, CUHere) for their members.


September 24th, 2012
3:19 pm

If the banks were not so greedy in the first place it would not have been necessary for the government to step in to protect consumers. Bank fees can be avoided several different ways. I maintain a traditionalmega bank checking account as well as a credit union account, both fee free.


September 24th, 2012
3:21 pm

And that’s why I bank at Delta Community Credit Union (shameless plug). I told Bank of ‘Merica to pound sand, and I’m much happier (and a little bit wealthier) for it. I’ll never bank with a big corporate bank again.


September 24th, 2012
3:28 pm

Bobby- “If the banks were not so greedy in the first place it would not have been necessary for the government to step in to protect consumers”

The government has no place monitoring and regulating something that is not necessary or detrimental to the well-being of others. Don’t like the fees? Find another bank or keep it under your mattress. If a person chooses to do business with a bank, that person should be held responsible for whatever contract they sign and whatever fees the incur.


September 24th, 2012
3:31 pm

The heck with big banks, I use a Associated Credit Union, and a small bank in ALABAMA.


September 24th, 2012
3:33 pm

commoncents you are correct, but today everyone want to blame anyone but themselves for their actions and not take responsibility for this or other debt they foolishly acquired.


September 24th, 2012
3:36 pm

Banks are for the most part unregulated. They can gouge anyone as they see fit.

Welcome to Georgia.


September 24th, 2012
3:42 pm

Hadn’t been to an ATM in a couple of years and was shocked to see the banks were changing a $3 fee (in Suwanee). My solution: went into Wal-mart and bought a pack of gum for .98 and go $60 cash back. I also said bye-bye to the banks a while ago and have been with Associated credit union for some time and am happy.

argh man

September 24th, 2012
3:42 pm

Credit unions. That is all. Carry on.


September 24th, 2012
3:43 pm

Reality is right — Georgia does not regulate banks — so we get high fees, the most number of failed banks, and high foreclosure rates (and one of the few states where the mortgage holders can do so without proving they own the debt!)


September 24th, 2012
3:47 pm

Anybody who stays with a bank that does not offer free checking and no fee charge on ATM withdrawals must like giving away their money! I bank with the Delta Community Creidit Union (for over 25 years) and have NEVER paid for their services. I give them all my banking business.


September 24th, 2012
3:49 pm

You are all ready taxed on the monies that go into these banks, and again taxed.You know when the housing crisis was going on who did we (the govt.) bail out the banks amongst other wealthy instutions. And after the banks got their bail out, they came after the home owners to collect again or evict, so I see as they just got doubled paid. And the robo signings, vote with your wallet.


September 24th, 2012
3:52 pm

Why are we surprised. Isn’t Georgia first in the nation in the number of banks that went bust in the Bush Recession? That is Georgia for you. Now we are only second in the highest fees banks can charge for use of an ATM. We must do better.

You need to understand. Georgia is business friendly. Consumer friendly? Not so much.


September 24th, 2012
4:01 pm

The government has every right to step in and regulate predatory lending practices. These fabulous institutions that you government basers are lauding nearly brought us to our knees. And you want to whine about regulation?


September 24th, 2012
4:05 pm

2 words to avoid fees……Direct Deposit


September 24th, 2012
4:08 pm

BofA has 10.8 BILLION shares of common stock. Where do you think the money for their dividend comes from? that’s right-YOU in higher Fees and Interest rates than Credit Unions. Have to pay the dividends and executives golden parachutes somehow….


September 24th, 2012
4:14 pm

Midtown – ATM and Checking Fees are not predatory lending practices. As the name clearly indicates, those practices relate to lending matters. ATM and Chekcing Fees relate are account maintenace fees that are disclosed by the bank when you open an account. As most people on this board have stated, the government should not be tinkering with these kind of matters. The free market can easily dictate the amount of fees account holders are willing to pay.


September 24th, 2012
4:32 pm

Anyone who banks with a large corporate bank or BoA deserves everything coming to them. DO NOT give them any business. They will nickel and dime you to death.

What dummies

September 24th, 2012
4:32 pm

People just don’t think or plan ahead. My bank is back in my hometown, 185 miles from Atlanta. A small bank in a small town in central Georgia. A bank I can trust. Yes they charge out of network ATM fees, but I haven’t used an ATM in years. When I go to the grocery store or any discount store like Target or Walmart I usually get $100.00 in change, NO FEES.


September 24th, 2012
5:25 pm

What mangler said. People can get around fees if they want to.

You can get money back at most grocery stores…. no fees.
You can join a credit union and (many) will pay foreign ATM fees up to 5 transactions a month.
You can join a credit union and use TONS of in-network ATMs at convenience stores all around the country.
You can go to Publix and use their ATMs for free.

In short, I have lived in GA for 40 years and have never paid an ATM fee.


September 24th, 2012
5:57 pm

@commoncents Perhaps you need to get some common sense. There was a time that businesses and corporations were honest and yes consumers could make informed decisions. Today that attitude has changed and it’s gouge the customer as quickly and as much as you can. The contract originally signed by customers can be changed at any time on the whim of the bank/financial institution. Thus today the government does unfortunately have to step in and protect consumers against the largess of corporate America.


September 24th, 2012
7:04 pm

Staying old fashion. I still write checks. If the business don’t accept my check, I go next door and buy the product. I don’t pay bank fees. When Wells Fargo decided to charge bank fees, I closed the account. They cried about FICO scores when you close your accounts, well, I don’t need a FICO score to buy what I need. My goal is to get every liar cheating business out of my pocket. Businesses aren’t the businesses of the old days. They will steal everything they can from you before the FED get on them. By that time, you have been JACK.

No, I am not at a credit union because they suck just like some of the banks in my area. This is your money. Treat it like it. The bank works for you and not you working for the bank through their bank fees. It’s too many banks and they need your money and you don’t need them as they want you to believe.

Direct deposits suck because they think that it is a hold to keep you there at their bank no matter what kind of treatment they give you. If you are so concern about your checks, get a post office box. When you had it with any bank, you can move your money without issues.

Think smart and don’t give banks the control over your money.

Lemon Thrower

September 24th, 2012
7:19 pm

My local home town bank never ever charge me for any transaction at any bank or any ATM any where. It was bought out last year and service went down hill and if I use my bank or any ATM anywhere( My local bank too) 3 times or more a month It cost $3.00 . I switch to a credit union and zero dollars for any ATM that I use.


September 24th, 2012
7:58 pm

And my bank, Charles Schwab, refunds any ATM fees I get charged by other banks. Free checking without minimums, check deposit by smartphone app, what more could you ask for?

Mr. Thomas Anthony Jones, SR

September 24th, 2012
8:27 pm

The big banks here in marthasville/Atlanta are biggest group of crooks in the country. The feds should shut all these big banks down and give their money to us the taxpayers.

Sara Tonin

September 24th, 2012
8:40 pm

Two words (sort of) . . . ING Direct. Fee free checking AND they manage my investments wonderfully too!


September 24th, 2012
9:00 pm

Georgia is a highly predatory state because efforts through the communities and government to prevent or prosecute are very weak to none.


September 24th, 2012
9:32 pm

“2 words to avoid fees……Direct Deposit”

One word to respond: Huh?


September 25th, 2012
11:12 am

The problem is the masses STILL choose to bank at large institutions. This is where the problem lies. Take your business to a community bank. Most offer everything the Wells, BoAs, etc. offer yet provide less fess and better banking. My bank, State Bank & Trust, does not charge me for ATM transactions nation wide. They do not charge and, if I make at Bank of America in Oregon, they don;t charge and they cover the charge of BoA.

People forget banks are businesses too. The difference is they only operate with a 6-10% profit margin. Yet are expected to offer ALL products for free. Banks have employees, clients, and shareholders. All have to be kept happy.

The problem with the banking crisis was unethical and greedy bankers. Inflating real estate and offering subprime loans.

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