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$5 ATM fees looming

In the worst-case scenario, you could pay $7 in fees to get money out of the machine.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 21, 2011 11:39AM

This post comes from Matt Brownell at partner site MainStreet.


With swipe fee limits on the way, the big banks are doing everything they can to find new ways to turn a profit. Next up: higher ATM fees.


The Associated Press reported that a number of large banks are beginning to change their ATM policies in ways that affect both customers and non-customers. Chase, for instance, is experimenting with hikes in the fees it charges non-customers to use its ATMs in some parts of the country. In Texas it's testing fees of $4, and in Illinois it's trying fees as high as $5. Post continues after video.

Chase wouldn't be the first bank to charge non-customers $5 to use its ATMs, either. RateWatch, which tracks a variety of bank fees around the country, found that Marshall and Ilsley Bank of Arizona already charges $5, as does the much smaller Coconut Grove Bank of Florida. But Chase would easily be the biggest one to hit that milestone.


If Chase decides to implement the $5 fee on a national scale, it would be more than twice the national average, which as of January was $2.11, according to RateWatch.


Your bank's fees may also be rising

Of course, the non-customer fee is just half the equation when you can't find one of your own bank's ATMs. Most banks will also charge their customers a fee for using another bank's ATM. As of January, the national average for that fee was $1.20.


But those fees are on the rise as well, with TD Bank implementing a $2 fee for customers using another bank's ATM after previously charging nothing at all, and Citi raising its fee from $1.50 to $2. For the record, many banks charge you even more for using another bank's ATM. According to RateWatch, Comerica Bank of Texas actually charges you $5 for the transaction.

Using another bank's ATM is already an expensive proposition. In January, MainStreet found that adding up the average ATM fees shows that an out-of-network ATM transaction costs consumers about $3.31, on average. But the uptick in ATM fees portends a nightmarish future in which a TD Bank customer goes to a Chase ATM and winds up paying $7 in fees for a $20 bill.


Of course, there are still ways to avoid ATM fees altogether. Some online checking accounts -- like those offered by Charles Schwab -- will refund any ATM fees you incur. And you can generally use a debit card instead of cash, though that may stop being an option if the banks follow through on their threat to put caps on debit card transactions.


Basically, it looks like it may soon get a lot harder to make purchases with anything other than credit cards. Which, of course, works out very nicely for the big banks and credit card companies.


At the end of the day, the house always wins.


More from MainStreet and MSN Money:

Mar 21, 2011 6:41PM
If my bank, CitiBank, puts a "fee" on my ATM card I will drop them immediately and not use banks at all!  Why should we pay banks to use our money?  Everyone should drop their banks period.  Put all of them out of business!
Mar 21, 2011 1:27PM
once again.... glad i have a credit union.  no ATM fees if i use one on their network and i only have to pay the ATM fee if it's not on the network.  my credit union doesn't charge for fees if i use another banks ATM.  kiss my grits big banks!
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