ATMs are becoming a costlier convenience
Banks are charging higher fees for out-of-network customers to withdraw cash or do other common banking tasks.
Your intuition was correct about the last time you had to get some money while out of town. It's costing you more to withdraw cash from ATMs outside of your bank's network -- on average 20% more compared with five or six years ago.
A new study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office says not only are more financial institutions adding fees for ATM use, but the estimated average surcharge for outside-of-network customers has gone up from $1.75 in 2007 to $2.10 last year.
And the GAO's analysis of ATMs run by independent operators -- the machines you use at gas stations, grocery shops and drugstores -- found their fees averaged $2.24 last year.
How do the banks explain the increase? According to the GAO, representatives from financial institutions view ATM access primarily as a service for their account holders, a way of giving customers 24/7 availability for simple transactions like getting cash and making deposits.
And when talking about costs for non-account-holding ATM customers, those banks cited three factors for their current fees: staying competitive with fees charged by other nearby ATMs, the operating costs of their ATMs, and a machine's expected usage or transaction levels.
For example, according to the report, "representatives from two large banks noted that surcharge fees help ensure ATM availability for their account holders while also making the service available as a convenience for nonaccount-holding customers. Furthermore, the surcharge revenues at some locations can subsidize expensive or unprofitable ATM locations such as airports, colleges, and business districts."
And industry observers say those ATM fees are expected to rise further because of federal regulations that limit some card fees and interest rates.
Our salaries are not increasing to reflect all the increases in fees, groceries, rent, utilities etc. We can always go back to mailing our bills as we did when I first went to work and cashing a check for what we would need over the weekend. These banks are robbing people and then getting bailed out when they fail.
"And when talking about costs for non-account-holding ATM customers, those banks cited three factors for their current fees: staying competitive with fees charged by other nearby ATMs, the operating costs of their ATMs, and a machine's expected usage or transaction levels."
What a load of crap. The fees charged are way over what it costs to operate an ATM. The big banks are just padding profits by screwing over their customers.
I don't understand why ANYONE would use a big retail bank instead of a credit union or small local bank.
It's been years since I've used an out of network ATM. These days there's less reason to carry cash thanks to credit and debit cards accepted almost everywhere.
With banks paying no interest on savings, there's no point keeping more money in your account except to meet your obligations (direct debits for bills). keep the rest under your mattress and avoid using ATMs at all.
One ATM fee will obliterate any interest you might collect on even a very large amount of money in the bank, as much as the annual interest on $5000.
Crazy, isn't it?
If your "intuition" is working well enough to tell you that, it should be working well enough to tell you you're foolish to deal with a bank: join and transfer to a federally-insured Credit Union.
At my Credit Union I pay NO fees whatsoever at over 70,000 ATM's nationwide including those in every 7-11, Target, and Costco. I pay NO debit-card swipe fees. If I overdraw my checking account there are absolutely NO fees as long as my savings account can cover it. No Internet fees, no nickel-and-diming at all. And I get as much interest on my checking account as I did on my former M&T savings account. My other accounts get 3 to 5 times the interest I got at M&T.
I dumped M&T when it charged for new checks for the first time in my life and I discovered that almost anyone can join a credit union, even if it has a name like State Employees Credit Union. Something with a name like that will have enough branches across your state to make dealing with it comfortable. And the credit union does loans, CDs, etc. just like a bank - though it often has better deals for new car loans, etc. in association with certain dealerships. But don't take my word for it: look into it. I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Wells Fargo charged me 7.00 each for two balance inquiries on atm machines that were not theirs, no money withdrawn, just inquiries.
Heard from others similar stories.
Goodbye Wells Fargo.
Hell I can do anything anyone else can do with a VISA card from Walmart and it's totally free.
All people are doing is making the rich richer dealing with Banks.
Easy way to avoid the Convenience Fee is to not use the Convenient Machine.
It's like paying to belong to one gym and getting mad when another gym won't let you use their gym for free.
When my bank starts charging me to use my own money is when I start looking for a new bank!
Between ATM and the credit card (Amex, visa charges to the sellers that efectively comeout of comeumer pockets) and all the fees that bank charge, we are paying 6-7 percent of the total for the use of our own money. It is like another sales tax which is around 6-7 percent. if we the consumer dont take this up seriously, it is going to be 100 percent soon enough.
ATMs were setup by the banks as it was cheaper to service customers that way rather than have them que up at the bank locations. Banks were thus able to reduce their expense on managing and setting up bank locations. ATMs did become a convenience for customer as well but the charge should be reasonable or free.
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