NEW YORK (10/31/08)--Banks are taking it on the chin in Bankrate.com's
latest fees survey, which concludes fees for ATM surcharges, checking account fees and monthly service fees are at all-time highs. Some fees have outpaced inflation, Bankrate.com
(Oct. 29). The 2008 Checking Study surveyed interest-bearing and noninterest-bearing accounts at 249 banks and thrifts in the largest 25 metro areas. The study found:
* ATM surcharges--the fee the ATM-owning bank charges to nonaccount holders--rose to $1.97, about 11% more than the $1.78 charged last year. The cost of using a foreign ATM was $1.46, up from last year's $1.25. That puts the total average cost of using an out-of-network ATM at $3.43 per transaction. Bounced-check fees rose 2.5% this year, to $28.95 per check. * In interest-bearing accounts, monthly service fees hit a new high of $11.97 on average. Minimum balance requirements also set a record with a minimum average of $3,461.84 required to keep an account at the bank open. * For noninterest-bearing accounts, the reverse was true. Monthly service fees for these accounts hit a new low--at $1.96 and their minimum balances were a low of $109.26 average balance required. * Online banks had higher average minimum requirements to open either an interest-bearing checking account or noninterest-bearing account than a brick-and-mortar bank. For interest-bearing accounts, online banks required an average $650.81, versus $376.75 at a traditional bank. For noninterest-bearing accounts, online banks required $133.33 while traditional banks required $82.71.
Credit union accounts are not included in the survey. The news comes at a time when banks are doing everything they can to make up revenue gaps from market exposures and rising credit costs stemming from lending, said Forbes.com
(Oct. 27). Large banks are raising some account fees to record levels at a time when more consumers are struggling to pay bills, USA TODAY
Oct. 30) noted.