Using the ATM can be convenient, and banking industry consultant Bert Ely says that when it comes to out-of-network fees, ease is where the problem begins.
“First of all, ATM machines are getting more sophisticated,” he says.
According to Ely, maintaining and upgrading ATMs to handle fancy new features, like video tellers, costs banks a lot of money. Meanwhile, low interest rates have kept profits down.
“So, they look elsewhere for income,” he says.
They look, for instance, to out-of-network ATM fees. A new study from Bankrate.com and data from other research shows average out-of-network fees are up between 2.5 and 5 percent over last year. So while your bank might not be charging you, it's instead slapping customers from other banks with fees when they use its ATMs.
“The reality is it’s better for them to charge other banks' customers, than their own more," says Jim Miller, senior director of banking with market research company J.D. Power.
Miller says that unlike with overdraft fees, at least using another bank’s ATM is a choice — albeit, an expensive one.
So where are you likeliest to pay the most? Here are the five cities that have the highest ATM fees, on average:
1. Phoenix, AZ: $4.96
2. Denver, CO: $4.75
3. San Diego, CA: $4.70
4. Houston, TX: $4.67
5. Milwaukee, WI: $4.66