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Bankrate Banks charging record fees
NEW YORK (10/1/09)--Banks fees for bounced checks, ATM use and checking account service charges hit record highs in August, according to a Bankrate.com study released Wednesday. Bounced-check fees averaged $29.58 for the first bounced check, an increase of 2.1% from 2005 (ABCNews and USA TODAY Sept. 30). Roughly 26% of banks surveyed use a tiered pricing system to impose progressively higher fees for multiple overdrafts in a 12-month period. The average cost for the second, third, and fourth bounced checks rose to nearly $34 each. Charges for an interest-bearing checking account were up nearly 3.5% from 2004 data-- to a record $12.55 per month, said Bankrate(USA TODAY). Last year the cost was $11.97 or 5% less. The average minimum-opening balance requirement increased to $473.12 from $376.75. ATM fees also rose. In 2009, the average fee to use another bank's ATM was $3.54, up 16% from 2004 and 7% since 1999, when the average fee was $1.12. This includes the fee charged at the ATM as well as that charged by the consumer's bank. Consumers also paid more for online banking. Online checking accounts that earn interest have a higher average minimum balance--$681.50--than traditional banks but they offer better yields, lower balance requirements and lower monthly fees, said Bankrate. Bounced-check fees at online banks increased to $29.78 and the average ATM surcharge increased to $1.88.
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