NEW YORK (RateWatch) – Free checking has become an endangered species in this country, with Americans who fail to meet certain criteria finding themselves paying a monthly maintenance charge on their accounts. Meanwhile, new limits on interchange fees mean that banks may raise ATM fees as a way of making up lost revenue. And those are just the two most visible fees charged by banks – literally dozens of fees, penalties and service charges exist, making retail banking a virtual minefield of hidden charges.
To help you sort out this mess, we’ve called on RateWatch data to explore what the average bank charges on several of the most common fees. Take a look at the average fees listed below, then call up your bank or check out its website to see how it stacks up. If you’re paying more than the national average on a service you frequently use, it may be time to shop around.
Service: Transaction at another bank’s ATM
Average Fee: $1.20
Explanation: This is the fee that an average bank charges for using an ATM outside its network.
Service: Non-customer ATM transaction
Average Fee: $2.11
Explanation: This is what the average bank charges non-customers to use its ATMs. Combined with the ‘foreign’ ATM fee charged by your own bank (see above), you’re looking at $3.31 in service charges for using another bank’s ATM.
Service: Monthly Fee for Interest Checking
Average Fee: $10.56
Explanation: This is the average monthly fee charged by an interest-bearing checking account, which will likely eat up any interest you might earn. Fortunately, these fees are typically avoided by maintaining a minimum balance or meeting some other criteria.
Service: Monthly Fee for Non-Interest Checking
Average Fee: $3.21
Explanation: This is the average monthly charge for a standard checking account, which can usually be avoided by meeting certain criteria like establishing a regular direct deposit to the account.