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$5 to access your own money? ATM fees jump to record high

Young woman taking money from ATMPaying to access your own money is one of the most frustrating things about using ATMs. And the cost keeps rising.

The average total cost for using an out-of-network ATM hit a record $4.69 per transaction, according to a new survey.

That’s up 2.6% from a year ago and is 55% higher than 10 years ago.

And the fees are likely to continue to rise, chief financial analyst Greg McBride said.

“People are smarter about their money, and they are using less cash and making fewer ATM withdrawals,” McBride said.

As fewer people use them banks are having to charge more. But the fees are avoidable and the cost of ATM networks are being borne by non-customers, he said.

In addition to ATM fees, consumers are also facing a rise in overdraft fees.

The average overdraft fee rose to a new high of $33.38 this year after seeing a slight dip in 2016.

Consumers in Philadelphia are hit with the highest average overdraft fee of $35.30 among the top 25 metro areas.

What can consumers do about fees?

Fees are easily avoidable if you are proactive, McBride said. Plan ahead as to where and when you make your withdrawal.

And technology is making it easier than ever.

“Knowing where you can make free ATM withdrawals and monitoring your available balance to avoid overdrafts are as close as your smartphone,” McBride said.

He also advises signing up for email and text alerts that let you know when your balance gets below a certain level. That can help you from withdrawing more than you have in your account.

Personal finance web site offers these five tips to avoid ATM fees:

  1. Use your phone to find an ATM in your bank’s network
  2. Get cash back without paying a fee when using your debit card at stores
  3. Prepare ahead and make a habit of carrying some cash
  4. Find a bank that doesn’t charge ATM fees
  5. Know what’s in your wallet: Use debit or credit cards


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Source: USA Today