ATM and overdraft fees have reached an all-time high, according to an annual Bankrate checking survey, which has studied non-interest and interest accounts over 20 years.
"ATM fees hit a record high for the 11th year, with record highs in both fees the consumer pays: The fee to their own bank and the fee to the ATM owner," Greg McBride, Bankrate chief financial analyst, tells CNBC Make It. "Overdraft fees hit a new high after a slight dip last year."
The average ATM surcharge rose to $2.97, from $2.90 last year, a 13-year high. The average fee charged by a consumer's own bank for using an out-of-network ATM rose three percent to $1.72. And the average total cost of an out-of-network ATM withdrawal is $4.69, up from $4.57.
For overdraft charges, the average fee reached $33.38, up from $33.04 last year. The most common charge amount is $35, the survey found, and the number of banks that increased their fee outnumbered those who lowered their fee seven to one.
Here are the five highest average ATM fees by metro:
"Consumers in Pittsburgh are faced with the highest average out-of-network ATM fee of all the top 25 major metro areas," according to the survey. ATM fees in Dallas are the lowest at an average $4.07.
Here are the five highest average overdraft fees by metro:
"Patrons in Philadelphia are burdened with the highest average overdraft fee," the survey says. In San Francisco, overdraft fees are only an average $31.44.
According to McBride, though, both ATM and overdraft fees are "completely avoidable."
To protect against overdraft fees, he says, "sign up for email or email or text alerts that let you know when your balance gets below a certain level, link your checking account and savings account so that your money — rather than the bank's money — can cover any shortfall and monitor your available account balance before initiating transitions."
And, to avoid paying ATM fees, "plan ahead when making withdrawals so you can do so for free within network or get cash back at the point of sale when using your debit card."
Or cardholders could, like Mark Cuban, avoid using plastic altogether and instead opt for cash for small payments and checks for larger ones.
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