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Are Banking, ATM, Checking Fees Unrealistically High Now?

The average cost of an out-of-network ATM transaction is $4.07. Should something be done?

Fees on checking accounts hit an all-time high in 2012, reports the financial website Bankrate.com, with much of the increase coming in charges for use of out-of-network ATMs. According to the side, the average fee assessed by the owner of a foreign ATM climbed 4 percent this year to $2.50.

Combined with the typical charge by a consumer's own bank for an out-of-network withdrawal — $1.57, up 11 percent — the average cost per transaction now stands at a whopping $4.07.

And for the first time ever, all financial institutions surveyed by Bankrate.com reported charging non-customers for ATM transactions.

Other checking account expenses — such as maintenance fees and non-sufficient funds fees — also have risen, due in part to banks' response to new regulations capping overdraft fees.

Do you think it's time regulators stepped in again and capped these fees, or is over-regulation partly responsible for driving up other fees in the first place? Tell us in the comments section below. 

Elizabeth September 28, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Our credit union does not charge checking account fees. I wrote an insufficient funds check one time - about 40 years ago. Due to the fee my bank at the time charged, it was a learning experience. What is not fair is that if someone else writes me an insufficient funds check, I am charged a fee for their giving me a bad check. Regarding ATM charges, we do not use ATMs, so we have no reference.
Brian Crawford September 28, 2012 at 03:55 PM
An ATM is a convenience, there are other alternatives for accessing one's cash. When ATMs first went online banks envisioned that they would ultimately reduce the need for human tellers. This did not turn out to be the case. ATMs are expensive to maintain and many banks are beginning to close ATM locations. If you don't like the fees, don't use them.
Sandy September 28, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Brian, you say "When ATMs first went online banks envisioned that they would ultimately reduce the need for human tellers. This did not turn out to be the case." Could you please explain then why your guy Obama claims that ATM machines replaced tellers? I am confident that you can but I would love to hear it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-75KJkJiVRo
Sharon Swanepoel September 28, 2012 at 04:40 PM
My husband drove passed his bank without cashing a check for me, so I went back to cash it myself. Because I don't have an account there, he does, it cost me $5. I don't remember this in the past, when did it change? Just asking. I thought if you went to the bank it was drawn on, there was no charge for cashing it.
Brian Crawford September 28, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Well Sandy, believe it or not I don't always agree with President Obama. I think he's buying into a popular misconception and could have used a better example to illustrate his point, which by the way is a valid one. I would be interested in hearing the his full remarks since the clip you referenced was highly edited.
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew September 28, 2012 at 04:53 PM
THIS post is history in the making. I will always remember where I was the day Brian told us he doesn’t always agree with President Obama. 9/28/12 a date that live in infamy… (Smiles)
Sandy September 28, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Okay Brian. I concede the video I provided was clearly edited by someone. However, the comment from Obama’s mouth starting at :30 in the video, is as such: “is there’s some structural issues with our economy. Where, a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. Ya, you see it when you go to a bank an ther, you use uh, an ATM. You don’t go to a bank teller.”
Brian Crawford September 28, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Not sure about that one. Banks have differing policies. I do know this however; when I was in banking in the early 80s before rampant deregulation, commercial banks were basically limited to taking deposits and making loans to their local customers. While they made money on interest rate spreads they were dependent on fees for checking and other services to remain marginally profitable. Deregulation allowed banks to participate in all sorts of shenanigans designed to pick the public's pockets so they no longer had to rely these fees. Thus the age of "free checking!" As we all know nothing is truly free and we ended up paying in spades through unscrupulous credit card practices and over-priced mortgages. The old model was far superior to the mess we have today. If clamping down on banks' bad behavior means paying a little more in fees I'm all for it.
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Karsten Torch October 01, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Really? This is still here?
Karsten Torch October 01, 2012 at 09:20 PM
A couple of thoughts here - in my opinion, a bank can charge what they want. They're providing a service. Don't like it? Don't bank there, or start your own. Or take steps to avoid the fees. Some people will drive 20 minutes out of the way and spend $5 in gas to avoid a $4 charge for using somebody else's ATM, but they'll still complain about the ATM fee. Just sayin.... And of course bank fees are going up. Banks are businesses, they're in business to make money. If that wasn't their goal, they wouldn't have started. As such, Dodd-Frank severely curtailed their ability to make money from the other avenues they have for a long time. Take from one hand, you have to give to the other, just the way it works. http://www.forbes.com/sites/halahtouryalai/2011/09/29/bofas-new-5-debit-card-fee-blame-dodd-frank/ Funny how some people never think about that. Companies don't pay regulations or increased taxes - the customers that use them do. Higher operating costs, whatever their form, translate directly to higher prices for the consumer. And yet there are those that will take legislation like this and praise it, and then in the same breath condemn the companies that wind up raising prices over it....

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