ATM fees at an all-time high

ATM fees rise to all-time high

You could buy that iced caramel macchiato from Starbucks, or you could pay to take your money out of another bank’s ATM. The average price for both? $4.35.

ATM fees are now higher than ever before, Bankrate says in the new results of their annual checking survey. It found that ATM fees have been rising steadily on both sides for the past 10 years.

You’ve probably stepped up to an ATM and slid in your debit card only to be prompted, “There is a $3.00 service fee for this ATM. Would you like to proceed with your transaction?” That’s a non-bank charge — the average has climbed from $1.37 in 2004 to $2.77 now.

Then there’s what banks charge their own customers for using out-of-network ATMs, an average of $1.58. Combine them both, and you’re down one caramel macchiato.

“The ATM fees go up at such a rapid clip because it’s really low-hanging fruit as far as fee income is concerned,” says Greg McBride, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst.

Surge in overdraft fees

Bankrate says that the average overdraft fee is also on the rise, now totaling around $32.74. That’s the fee your bank charges you for going into the red on your checking account.

While going into overdraft may be unavoidable if you take a cut on your pay or have a financial emergency, Bankrate says the best way to protect yourself against the fee is to opt out of overdraft protection.

“While this trend is unlikely to reverse, consumers should recognize that ATM fees and overdraft fees can be avoided completely,” says Greg McBride,’s chief financial analyst.

Here are a few ways to keep from giving your hard-earned money to the bank…

1. Pick a national bank or credit union with many locations. 

Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, and many more have more than 1,000 branches, so if you’re concerned about the possibility of always having an ATM around the corner where you can withdraw your money without fees, consider big banking. Or, use an app like Allpoint or MoneyPass to comb through your area and find ATM locations where you won’t have to pay surcharges.

2. Get cash while you’re getting groceries. 

CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Safeway, Wal-Mart, and other large chains make it easy to get cash back on your debit card when you’re checking out at the register.

3. Take out more money at one time. 

It’s not the safest choice, but if you are limited by your ATM location, taking out more cash at once will save you from having to repeat the fee. Obviously, you won’t want to keep all of it in your wallet — store some of it at home so you don’t have it with you 24/7.

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