Tackling Record-High ATM and Checking Account Fees
Bank charges have hit all-time highs. Free checking accounts have all but disappeared and ATM charges are up. Will you switch banks?
Has your bank raised fees on checking accounts and ATM transactions?
If so, you're not alone.
A survey by the trade industry group Bankrate.com found that "almost every checking fee we follow went up, with some bank fees rising 25 percent or more."
Free checking accounts are quickly disappearing. Bankrate found that just 39 percent of non-interest checking accounts are free of charge to all customers — down from 45 percent last year and a peak of 76 percent in 2009.
The same group said poll results suggest that 72 percent of Americans would consider switching banks if their financial institution raised its fees. That figure was 64 percent in March 2011.
A fee revolt swept the nation at the end of 2011 when a grassroots campaign — Move Our Money — persuaded many Americans to move their money from big banks to community banks or credit unions. Locally, we saw that campaign make it's way here with the Occupy Milwaukee movement. When the call to march rang out, chants, drums and megaphones began blaring from the once quiet crowd as they began marching down Michigan Avenue.
Fees at Major Banks in Fox Point, Bayside
|Bank||Min. Balance to Open||Min. Balance to Avoid Fees||Monthly Fees||Insufficient Funds Fee||Fee at Other ATMs|
|Cornerstone Community Bank||$0||$0||$0||$30||$0|
|Great Midwest Bank||$200||$0||$0||$20||First three free, then $0.75 per transaction.|
|North Shore Bank||$50||$750||$4.95||$35||$2|
While many of these local banks have monthly fees, most offer ways to offset those fees, such as direct deposit or minimum balances.
Have you recognized a rise in ATM and checking fees? Are you doing anything about it, like switching banks? Share your experience in the comments, and any tips for avoiding extra charges.