ATM fees on the rise

By:  Blake Ellis

It's getting more expensive to visit ATMs outside of your bank's network.

Typically, you face two fees when using an ATM that doesn't belong to your bank or credit union's ATM network: Your own financial institution charges you a fee for cheating on them and the ATM you use charges you as well.

It's the second fee that is making the trip to the ATM so costly. Fees banks and credit unions charge non-customers for using their ATMs have soared 20%, from an average $1.75 per transaction in 2007 to $2.10 in 2012, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

While some ATMs charge as little as 45 cents, others hit non-customers with fees as high as $5. The percentage of financial institutions charging these fees has also increased over the past five years -- from 87% to 96% -- as banks look to offset the higher costs of operating the machines and declining ATM fee revenue, the GAO found.

The good news, however, is that the fees banks charge their own customers for going out of network have remained relatively flat -- rising only slightly to an average of $1.42 per transaction from $1.36 over the past five years. Meanwhile, the percentage of financial institutions charging these fees remained steady at 55%. 

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