Using the ATM? You’re Being Gouged by Record-High Fees

Using the ATM? You’re Being Gouged by Record-High Fees Photo (cc) by ota_photos

You may want to think twice before you hit up an out-of-network ATM for some quick cash.

ATM charges have increased about 4 percent since last year, which means you’re paying an average of $2.88 to withdraw money from your account using a machine that’s not affiliated with your bank, according to a new survey by Bankrate.com. And that’s just the fee imposed by the ATM.

Oftentimes your bank also charges you to use an out-of-network ATM, so combined, you’re forking out a record $4.52 on average to get money from your account. Ouch. That’s a 21 percent increase from what consumers were charged five years ago.

“That’s a lot of money, and it adds up quickly,” said Bankrate. “In fact, the 5 largest banks in the country made $283 million off ATM fees in the 2nd quarter of 2015 alone, according to a study by SNL Financial, a financial analysis firm.”

Of course, how much you pay to use an out-of-network ATM varies by location, with Atlanta consumers assuming the biggest average fee at $5.15 per withdrawal and San Franciscans paying the lowest average ATM fee at $3.85.

Many consumers avoid ATMs in favor of cash-back services at grocery stores and drug stores or simply use electronic alternatives to cash – like a debit card.

Although that’s a smart money move for consumers, it’s also the primary reason that ATM fees have gone up, as machine owners and banks raise their ATM fees to cover their costs. The Washington Post said:

Rising fees are a reminder that it pays to find a checking account that matches your habits. People who are constantly withdrawing cash may need to switch to a bank that has more ATM locations in their area.

Check out “Theft of Debit Card Data at ATMs is Soaring: What You Need to Know.”

Do you regularly withdraw cash from an ATM? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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