Bank, ATM Fees Reach Record Highs

The Fall 2006 Checking Account Pricing Study, a survey conducted by, found that some customer fees and requirements hit record highs.

"What makes these fees especially irritating is that they're avoidable," according to Greg McBride, senior financial analyst for "It's something that pops up and bites you when you're not careful."


A Better Budgeting and Planning Solution is here.

Microsoft® Forecaster is an affordable way to customize your budgeting and planning to give you the control you need to manage your business' performance. As soon as you enter a number, it's available for analysis, allowing you to see how it impacts revenue and costs. This streamlined budgeting and planning solution helps decrease the chance for errors and miscommunication. And with Microsoft Forecaster, changes are easy to make. Even last-minute ones.

Visit for more information.

Average Automated Teller Machine (ATM) fees charged users of machines at banks where users do not have an account, were a record $1.64, up a dime in a year. Although six banks reduced fees, 22 banks increased the amount, bringing the number of banks with ATMs that charge users to a record 98.3 percent. A lower percentage of banks-77 percent- are assessing fees on their customers who use other bank's ATMs and maintain a minimum balance on an interest account. Using numbers from the General Accounting Office (GAO), estimated that customers would pay a total of $4.2 billion for non-bank ATM withdrawals in 2006, a slight drop from 2005

There is no better news concerning minimum opening deposits, which rose to record highs on both types of accounts, with interest accounts getting hit the hardest, at a 43 percent increase, up to an average $615.41. Non-interest account opening balances, although only $87.67, still posted a 21 percent increase, with an average $209.72 required minimum balance. This is the second lowest number ever found by the survey. Monthly fees for these accounts are also at a record low.

The balance requirement to earn interest and avoid fees is a whopping $2,660. The recent string of rate hikes is not reflected in the dismal 0.34 percent yield. states "there is no need to maintain a large balance in a low yielding account when so many checking accounts come without balance requirements or fees."

Fees on bounced checks, non-sufficient fund (NSF) checks, hit a record high average $27.40, with 85 banks posting increases and 32 decreasing account fees. AccountingWEB contacted customer service agents at various banks and discovered that fee policies vary and it is wise to check the policy in the city and state in which the account was opened. If the account remains negative for a certain number of days, either a one time or a daily fee may be assessed, depending on the bank policy.

To earn interest at an online bank and avoid checking fees, it costs about half the balance required at a regular bank, but the initial opening balance is higher, at $605. The monthly service charge is also about half, $5.50 compared to $10.74. Although the online interest rate is higher, maintains neither rate seems worth tying up the money which could yield more invested in other places.

The general advice to avoid fees is to shop around and check out all of the fees at a bank before opening an account, choose an account that fits individual needs, maintain minimum balances if required and keep track of balances, including checks written and any money withdrawn from the account through ATMs or account debit cards. This way the money will remain in your account and not on the banks profit statement.

The North Palm Beach online financial service surveyed 248 large banks and thrifts offering checking accounts, with 215 non-interest accounts and 247 interest accounts evaluated, using one non-interest and one interest checking account each, in 25 large U.S. markets.

You may like these other stories...

No matter how much we may want to put them on hold, we all have projects at work we need to start, right? Well, according to a recent survey of human resources (HR) managers by Accountemps, the most productive day of the...
The Ethics Resource Center (ERC) has been conducting nationally representative surveys of ethical attitudes, knowledge, and beliefs in the US workforce since 1994. Its latest comprehensive report, 2011 National Business...
By Ken Berry, Correspondent  Traveling is often physically and mentally taxing. It can also be a taxing experience from, well, a tax perspective. According to a press release by the Global Business Travel...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Apr 22
Is everyone at your organization meeting your client service expectations? Let client service expert, Kristen Rampe, CPA help you establish a reputation of top-tier service in every facet of your firm during this one hour webinar.
Apr 24
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel.
Apr 25
This material focuses on the principles of accounting for non-profit organizations' revenues. It will include discussions of revenue recognition for cash and non-cash contributions as well as other revenues commonly received by non-profit organizations.
Apr 30
During the second session of a four-part series on Individual Leadership, the focus will be on time management- a critical success factor for effective leadership. Each person has 24 hours of time to spend each day; the key is making wise investments and knowing what investments yield the greatest return.