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Checking Fees Hit Record High in Bankrate's 2013 Checking Survey
Monday, October 7, 2013 6:55 AM

Checking Account Fees

Between 2009 and 2012, free checking declined from 76 percent of checking accounts to 39 percent. This year, 38 percent of checking accounts offered by major banks are free, down just 1 percentage point from last year's study.

At the same time, according to recently released data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., commercial banks and thrifts earned profits of $42.2 billion in the second quarter of 2013, up 22.6 percent from the previous year.

While cutbacks to free checking may have slowed at major banks, those who do pay a monthly fee have seen that fee rise to record highs. The average fee you'll pay to maintain a checking account rose from $5.48 to $5.54 per month.

Of the 473 checking accounts that Bankrate surveyed, 97 percent were either free or could become free if account holders met certain requirements such as signing up for direct deposit. The average balance requirement to avoid a monthly fee fell from $6,117 to $5,802, and monthly fees for customers whose balances didn't meet that mark fell from $14.75 to $14.64.

ATM fees also hit an all-time high in Bankrate's Checking Survey. Banks now charge noncustomers an average of $2.60 to use their ATMs, up from $2.50 last year. The average fee your own bank will charge you for going out of network is actually down a few percentage points from last year, to $1.53, but combined, you'll pay a total of $4.13 to make a withdrawal at an out-of-network ATM. All told, the fee that banks charge noncustomers to use their ATMs has risen by nearly a third since 2008.


(Source: BankRate.Com, 1 October 2013)