ATM Fees Hit Record High as Overdraft and NSF Fees Drop

Sep 5, 2023Banks & Credit Unions, News

Bankrate’s annual Checking Account and ATM Fee Study found that the average combined ATM fee for out-of-network withdrawals was $4.73, which surpassed the previous average high of $4.72 in 2019. Alternatively, overdraft and non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees have drastically dropped in recent years, but both fees are still charged by most banks.

“ATM fees are biting harder than ever as the cost of out-of-network withdrawals hits a new record high,” said Greg McBride, Bankrate’s Chief Financial Analyst. “But with less need for cash and expansive ATM networks that make it easier than ever to stay within network, the fees are easily avoidable and need not be a frequent drain on your bank account.”

The average surcharge—the fee levied by the ATM owner—is $3.15, which is the 22nd record high in the last 25 years. Only 38 percent of banks offer free out-of-network withdrawals, a decline from 41 percent in 2022. The survey found that the cost of combined ATM fees varies by location; Atlanta has the highest fee of $5.33, and Boston has the lowest fee of $4.24.

Alternatively, the average overdraft fee fell to $26.61, down 11 percent from the average of $29.80 in 2022. The average NSF fee reached a record low of $19.94, a decline of 25 percent from $26.58 in 2022, and a significant decline from the record high of $33.58 in 2021. 

The survey also found that interest checking accounts have high monthly fees—the average being $15.33, the fourth highest monthly fee seen by Bankrate since 1998—as well as high balance requirements. The average balance required to avoid monthly fees is $8,684.

“Free checking accounts are still widely available, either on a standalone basis or when signing up for direct deposit,” said McBride. “Avoid accounts that require stranding a balance to avoid fees when you can get a free checking account and move your excess funds into an online savings account at a time when yields exceed 5 percent.

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