- The average bank overdraft fee fell 11% to $29.80 from last year’s record high of $33.58, according to a Bankrate study released Tuesday. That’s the lowest level for the fee since 2009, when the charge averaged $29.58.
- ATM fees were on the rise, with the average fee imposed by the ATM owner, combined with charges assessed by one’s bank, increasing to $4.66 per transaction — the highest sum in three years.
- Customers needed an average of $539 in their non-interest checking account to avoid monthly service fees, Bankrate found. That’s up 6.4% from $507 last year, the first increase in average balance requirements since 2015. To avoid monthly service fees on interest-bearing checking accounts, users needed $9,658, down slightly from last year’s record of $9,897, according to the study. That is still significantly higher than 2020’s figure of $7,550, which itself was a record high at the time.
Other banks, such as Bank of America, cut the amount they charged per overdraft.
Overdraft and NSF fees are still prevalent, though, with 96% and 87% of institutions surveyed still levying them in some way, respectively, according to Bankrate. The outlet surveyed 245 financial institutions between June 13 and July 1 to compile its data.
ATM fees that banks charge noncustomers, on the other hand, increased to a new high of $3.14, on average, Bankrate found. That figure varies by geography: Folks in Atlanta, for example, pay $5.38 — the highest among 25 metro areas Bankrate studied. That’s up from $5.23 last year. Los Angeles ranked lowest, at $4.21 — up from $3.90 last year.
Most banks continue to charge customers to house their money, with non-interest checking accounts most commonly charging $12 monthly service fees and interest-bearing checking accounts most commonly charging $25.
While 46% of non-interest checking accounts are free, 53% of non-interest checking accounts will waive fees based on certain transaction activities, including direct deposit and minimum account balance. Of these, 44% will waive fees solely based on direct deposits, up 3 percentage points since 2020. Bankrate found that 99% of non-interest accounts are free or can become free easily, provided certain transaction activity requirements are met.
Avoiding fees at interest-bearing checking accounts, however, requires a minimum balance at 75% of accounts surveyed. That balance, however, has nearly tripled in the past 15 years. In 2007, the average minimum balance for an interest-bearing checking account was $3,316. In 2002, it was $1,866.