How Much am I Paying to Access My Money?
October 29, 2015 | Your Finances
Stopping at the corner ATM could now easily cost more than your morning cup of joe.
To be precise, a new survey from Bankrate finds that the average out-of-network ATM fee totals a record $4.52.
How’s that for a jolt to your system?
The $4.52 breaks down to $2.88 for the ATM operator and $1.64 for your bank—and means that the fees for easy access to your own cash have risen 21% in five years.
And it’s not just ATM fees. If you’re not monitoring your balance, you may be hit with an overdraft fee, and the average now tops $33 (up 9% from five years ago). These extras can add up fast, taking a toll on your savings.
It doesn’t help that the share of truly free checking accounts has dipped to 37%. Instead, Bankrate analysts find that more institutions are requiring higher minimum balances and monthly direct deposits before they will waive your maintenance fee (another $5.86 a month on average).
But with some easy preparation, you can better ensure your money actually stays in your account.
Tips for Avoiding Checking Account Fees
- Calculate your weekly flex number and withdraw that amount to cut down on the frequency of your ATM visits.
- Stick with in-network ATMs or find an institution that will reimburse you for out-of-network transactions.
- Consider downloading your bank’s app; some have locators to help you identify a nearby fee-free ATM.
- Shop around for institutions that still offer free checking, like small banks, credit unions and online banks.
- Set up an automatic alert so that you’ll be notified if your balance falls below a certain amount.
If you’re still hit with a charge, find out how to talk your way out of bank fees and save money at the ATM.
LearnVest, Inc. is owned by NM Planning, LLC, a subsidiary of The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.