Americans Are Declining ATMs To Avoid Significant Fees

The cost for using an ATM to withdraw cash is continuing to rise, leading more Americans to think twice before using the machines to stock up on money.

According to one survey, the average national expense to use an out-of-network ATM is $4.52. This is the ninth year in a row that ATM fees have increased on average, and fees are up by 21% over the previous five years.

However, people are getting smarter about the fees, and customers are making strong efforts to avoid using ATMs that are outside of their bank’s network.

Surveys show that the typical debit card user in the United States only uses ATMs to withdraw cash just two times per month. This has significantly decreased from figures ten years ago.

Now with cash back services at stores and electronic alternatives to cash, customers are less dependent on ATMs than ever before.

However, fees have increased because fewer people are being lured in.

Financial analyst Greg McBride says, “People are getting smarter about ATM fees and are seeking out free ATMs run by their own banks when they do need cash. The fees are going up because, with fewer users to spread their costs over, ATM owners have to charge more.”

Reports indicate that Atlanta has the highest average ATM fees in the country. In Atlanta, one can expect to be charged $5.15 for using an out-of-network ATM.

In New York, the figure stands at $5.03. In Milwaukee, it’s $4.78. Chicago is below average at “just” $4.50. Surprisingly, San Francisco had the lowest average rates in the country at $3.85.

These fees can quickly rack up, and financial advisers are increasingly urging their clients to plan ahead and find in-network ATMs to avoid throwing away money. They also support the practice of avoiding ATMs altogether, opting instead to just get cash back at grocery stores.

Meanwhile overdraft fees are also increasing, as the national average fee for an overdraft on an account is $33.07.

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