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Bankrate Survey on Checking Fees

The latest from Bankrate’s study of 248 banks, 462 types of accounts, in 25 of the largest markets showed that while checking account interest rates are still low, the fees banks are charging have gone up. The average bounced check fee was $27.05 (up from $26.90), the average ATM charge for non-account holders was $1.60 (up from $1.32), and the minimum balance requirements on most checking accounts was $2,465.

Bouncing Rubber Checks
A lot of banks are now using tiered structures where you’re charged an ever increasing fee per bounced checked. Apparently at Wachovia, the first will cost you $25, then $30 for numbers 2-4, then $35 for each one after that – all in a 12 month period.

Interest Rates = Suck
What’s there to say? The interest rates on checking accounts are absolutely terrible… that’s why there are no fees with a lot of them. If the average minimum balance requirement is $2,465 then you’re giving up $98.60 a year in lost interest (4%) to have that checking account. Anyway you cut it, that’s a fee.

ATM Fees
In our society of instant gratification, the ATM is king and getting those extra bucks will cost you more this year. You hear a lot of banks saying they won’t charge you for using another bank’s ATM, which is great, except that bank will still charge you for using their ATM!

Don’t kid yourself, banks will get their money somehow, whether it’s withholding interest or actually charging you a fee, they have been at this game long enough to know how to best market the separation of you and your money. The best thing you can do is not let them take more than their fair share. 🙂

via Bankrate [3].