ATM Fees Have Hit a Record High—and These Cities Have It the Worst

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No feeling is worse than running out of cash while you’re out and about. If you can’t find an ATM that’s connected to your bank, you could be stuck shelling out several extra bucks to fill up your wallet. Been there, done that, and not doing it again—if you can avoid it.

Now, there’s another reason to carry around plenty of cash: ATM fees have hit a record high for the 11th year in a row, according to a new survey. Data crunchers at Bankrate, a finance analysis company, evaluated 10 banks and thrifts across 25 U.S. markets. Overall, they found that the average fee for an out-of-network ATM withdrawal is $4.69 per transaction. That’s an increase of 2.6 percent from last year and 55 percent compared to 10 years ago. Yikes!

Unfortunately, fees probably won’t drop anytime soon, according to Bankrate chief financial analyst Greg McBride. “People are smarter about their money, and they are using less cash and making fewer ATM withdrawals,” he told USA TODAY. Banks hike up their prices as the need for their services declines. (Here’s why swiping your debit card as “credit” wastes your money, too.)

ATMs in Pittsburgh charge the highest fees in the country, averaging $5.19 per withdrawal. The Big Apple came in second place, with an average withdrawal cost of $5.14. Other cities with pricey ATM fees include Washington D.C. ($5.11), Cleveland ($5.11), and Atlanta ($5.05). Meanwhile, those in Dallas can breathe a little easier; they only pay an average of $4.07 per withdrawal, the lowest in the country.

But thankfully, you can avoid most fees by planning ahead. “The fact is fees are continuing to go up, but they are avoidable,” McBride said in a statement. “Customers are not hostage to fees.”

If you’re desperate for cash, find a nearby ATM that’s in your bank’s network, or get cash back at a store by using your debit card. It’s also smart to make a habit of keeping some cash in your wallet at all times, even if you frequent places that accept debit or credit cards. Better to be safe than sorry, right? Don’t miss 20 more secrets your bank teller won’t tell you.

[Source: USA TODAY]

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