Bank Fees Rise to Record Numbers According to Bankrate's 2010 Checking Study

New Study Reveals Consumers Spending up to $620 Annually on Avoidable Fees

Oct 25, 2010, 08:00 ET from Bankrate, Inc.

NEW YORK, Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study released by Bankrate, Inc. shows that the costs of checking account fees have risen again this year to an all-time high.  Bankrate's 2010 Checking Study details the average fees associated with using and maintaining an interest bearing account, including bounced check fees, ATM surcharges, and monthly services fees, plus tips on how to avoid them at

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Bankrate's survey of leading banks and thrifts across the nation yielded the following data:

  • ATM fees leapt five percent from 2009 to a new all-time high of $2.33.  Additionally, the average fee banks charge for using an out-of-network ATM increased almost seven percent to an average of $1.41;
  • Overdraft fees increased three percent to a new record of $30.47;
  • Fees increased for both interest and non-interest checking accounts – non-interest accounts increased 40 percent from $1.77 to $2.49 while the monthly fee for not maintaining a minimum balance on an interest checking account increased almost four percent from an average of $12.55 to $13.04;
  • The number of banks and thrifts with free non-interest checking accounts – such as no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees – dipped to 65 percent, down from 76 percent last year;
  • Minimum balance requirements to avoid monthly fees on non-interest checking accounts are up 34 percent from last year, moving from $185.75 to $249.50.  For interest-bearing checking accounts, the average minimum balance requirement jumped 15 percent, from $3,372 to $3,883.

For the first time, Bankrate also ranked the top five cities across the U.S. in the categories of highest ATM and bounced check fees as well as the lowest ATM and bounced check fees.

Highest ATM Fees

Lowest ATM Fees

1. Seattle ($2.69)

1. Cleveland ($1.83)

2. Denver ($2.65)

2. Minneapolis ($1.95)

3. Houston ($2.63)

3. Kansas City ($2.00)

4. Miami ($2.56)

4. Milwaukee ($2.08)

5. New York Metro ($2.55)

5. Pittsburgh ($2.10)

Highest Bounced Check Fees

Lowest Bounced Check Fees

1. Dallas ($33.00)

1. San Francisco ($26.88)

2. Miami ($32.84)

2. Los Angeles ($27.78)

3. Houston ($32.74)

3. Cincinnati ($28.63)

4. Phoenix ($32.00)

T-4. San Diego ($28.80)

5. Denver ($31.79)

T-4. Chicago ($28.80)

"By exercising a little bit of caution, consumers can save themselves a lot of money and grief," said Bankrate senior financial analyst Greg McBride, CFA.  "A consumer who goes to an out-of-network ATM weekly can save $260 per year by using their bank's ATM instead.  Additionally, if that same person avoids one monthly overdraft of a checking account, at $30 each overdraft, they can save another $360.  This means a potential savings of $620 annually, all without switching accounts or banks." surveyed one interest checking account and one non-interest checking account at the five largest banks and the five largest thrifts in 25 large U.S. markets to find the latest trends on checking account and ATM fees. There were 244 interest accounts and 233 non-interest accounts surveyed at 247 banks and thrifts.

About Bankrate, Inc.

The Bankrate network of companies includes,,, Nationwide Card Services,, Fee Disclosure, InsureMe, Bankaholic, and NetQuote.  Each of these businesses helps consumers to make informed decisions about their personal finance matters. The company's flagship brand, is a destination site of personal finance channels, including banking, investing, taxes, debt management and college finance. is the leading aggregator of rates and other information on more than 300 financial products, including mortgages, credit cards, new and used auto loans, money market accounts and CDs, checking and ATM fees, home equity loans and online banking fees. reviews more than 4,800 financial institutions in 575 markets in 50 states. provides financial applications and information to a network of more than 75 partners, including Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO), America Online (NYSE: AOL), The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times (NYSE: NYT).'s information is also distributed through more than 500 newspapers.  Bankrate, Inc. was acquired by Apax Partners, one of the world's leading private equity investment groups, in September 2009.  Apax operates across the United States, Europe and Asia and has more than 30 years of investing experience. For more information on Apax, visit:

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SOURCE Bankrate, Inc.