ATM Fees Slink Upwards

Everyone with an ATM card is used to paying withdrawal fees when using another bank’s ATM and it’s no big deal, it’s only a buck or so, and the ATMs are so convenient. If that screen said, “This ATM will charge you $4.75 to withdraw money,” you might look around to make sure you hadn’t accidentally stepped into a casino or strip club. But since many banks charge you an extra per-transaction punishment fee for using another bank’s ATM, that’s exactly what’s happening. You just don’t notice because it gets lumped together into one ATM fee on your bank statement. Not only that, but these fees are slowly and steadily on the rise, as seen in this NYT graph. Average ATM surcharges by “other banks” have gone up from $.75 to $1.75 from 1999 to 2007. Average punishment fee for cheating with another bank’s ATM has gone from $2.00 to $3.00 in the same period. Obviously, one way to beat the fees is to only visit your bank’s ATMs. Another is to bank with a place like USAA, which refunds other bank’s ATM surcharges. Any other solutions out there for ending the fee spree?

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