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NEW YORK – Credit unions seeking to become their members’ primary financial institution might consider exploiting the steady increase in different fees charged by banks, particularly ATM and checking fees. According to a survey conducted by Bankrate.com, a leading independent source of financial data, the fees banks charge for a check returned for insufficient funds has increased from $26.90 in the fall of 2005, to $27.04 today, with the number of banks surveyed that increased bounced check fees outnumbering those that cut the fees by two to one. Further, banks are now using a tiered system to charge for the bounced checks. A customer’s first bounced check might draw only a $25 fee, but their second will draw $30 and their third $35, the survey found. Likewise, credit unions seeking a competitive advantage should consider joining a surcharge-free ATM network. Fully 98% of banks charge the fees, which the survey found now average $1.60 per transaction.

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