ATM Fees Rise to All-Time High
Life + Money

ATM Fees Rise to All-Time High

The ATM fees you’re charged when you bank outside of your network are rising faster than rents in a Tribeca apartment – and there’s little you can do about it.

The average fee for using an out-of-network ATM increased again this past year by 5 percent to $4.35 per transaction, a new high, according to a report by

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“They may not be on a par with death and taxes, but rising ATM fees seemingly have become a fact of life,” commented Bankrate in its report. Bankrate surveyed the 10 largest banks and thrifts in 25 of the country’s biggest markets.

The average out-of-network ATM fee rose 23 percent over the past five years. This average fee comprises the ATM surcharge assessed by the ATM owner as well as the fee that your bank may charge for using an out-of-network ATM, often called the foreign fee.

Here are the five cities with the highest average ATM fees:

  • Phoenix: $4.96
  • Denver: $4.75
  • San Diego: $4.70
  • Houston: $4.67
  • Milwaukee: $4.66

And here are the five cities with the lowest average ATM fees:

  • Cincinnati: $3.75
  • San Francisco: $3.93
  • Pittsburgh: $4.03
  • St. Louis: $4.12
  • Los Angeles: $4.13

While you may sometimes feel stranded and forced to use an out-of-network ATM, there are ways to plan ahead and avoid the exorbitant fees, though they don’t apply across the board.

Here’s one: “You can get cash back at a point of sale,” said Greg McBride,’s chief financial analyst to MSNBC, adding that there’s usually no additional charge involved. Not every retail outlet does this, however.

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“You should also download the app from your bank to see where the nearest ATM is,” he noted. “I do expect these fees to continue to rise, but you can always take your business some other place,” for example, to a bank that’s more convenient to you or one with a larger ATM network.

Overdraft fees have also set a new record high, at $32.74 on average, although the increase of 1.7 percent in the past year remains roughly on par with the rate of inflation.

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