Credit unions which have made free or low-cost ATMs and checking a focus of their marketing probably want to continue that strategy as a new survey found those fees, on average, are rising.
MoneyRates.com, a website that addresses consumer finance news and trends, reports that average ATM and overdraft fees have risen, as has the minimum amount of cash a consumer has to have in a checking account to avoid a fee. The proportion of checking accounts with no monthly fee dropped 3% and average overdraft fees increased to $29.83, MoneyRates said.
“Consumers need to be on the alert,” said Richard Barrington, senior financial analyst for MoneyRates.com in Foster City, Calif. “This is the most comprehensive rising fee trend we’ve seen in one of our checking account surveys, which means it is likely to affect more people than ever. This doesn’t just matter when you are shopping for a checking account. You need to watch for new fees popping up in your existing accounts.”
According to the survey, consumers are most likely to find lower fees by choosing either an online financial institution or a financial institution with less than $5 billion in deposits, the firm said, adding that checking accounts with no monthly fee were offered by more than two-thirds of the online banks in the survey, compared with only 34% of traditional banks.
Among traditional financial institutions, 45.8% of smaller ones offered checking accounts with no monthly fee, while only 21% of the accounts offered at banks with more than $25 billion in deposits followed suit.
“Consumers can still find good deals on checking accounts,” Barrington said. “But it helps to know where to look. Most importantly of all, though, consumers have to make the effort to shop around.”