If you’re withdrawing cash from an ATM that’s not part of your bank’s network, it’s costing you more than it used to — a lot more.
Over the past 10 years, the average out-of-network withdrawal fee has gone up by more than 50 percent, according to a new survey by Bankrate.com. Nationally, the average “all-in” cost for a nonnetwork ATM transaction, including any charges your own bank may levy on you for the privilege, is now over $4.50. In 1998 the average all-in cost was $1.97.
Bankrate.com surveyed the 10 biggest banks in the top 25 metro areas in the U.S. The most expensive city in which to make an out-of-network withdrawal is Pittsburgh, where the average transaction will set you back $5.19. The cheapest place to withdraw cash among the 25 biggest metro areas? Dallas, where a transaction costs you $4.07 in fees.
What’s driving the increase in fees, which have risen for 11 consecutive years? It’s not an uptick in use. With more and more consumers favoring digital payment options, people are withdrawing cash less often to make purchases. But that drop in ATM use actually increases the fees, Bankrate.com chief financial analyst Greg McBride told Bloomberg News.
“It keeps getting easier to avoid the fees, and people are transitioning away from cash,” said McBride. “With fewer people making out-of-network ATM withdrawals, the cost of maintaining that network is being spread over fewer transactions.”
If you’re looking to avoid ATM fees, talk with a representative at your bank. Several institutions now waive or reimburse ATM fees for customers who meet certain requirements, including maintaining account balance minimums or multiple accounts.