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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Credit Union 24 has announced that two more credit unions have joined its nationwide ATM and electronic funds transfer network: the $250 million Tucson Federal Credit Union and the $95 million Fort Worth City Credit Union.Both institutions joined the network’s CU HERE program, which offers members of participating credit unions surcharge-free access to participating machines.“Our interest in Credit Union 24 follows Tucson FCU’s commitment to convenient and economical delivery channels for our members,” said Matthew Gaspari, Tucson FCU’s senior vice president and chief operating officer. “Credit Union 24′s broad surcharge-free ATM offerings and member-owned POS network provide the reach, flexibility and value.”“Our CU HERE programs are a great fit for Forth Worth City Credit Union and its history of offering valuable services that build and reinforce member connections,” said Jim Park, Credit Union 24′s president/CEO.Credit Union 24′s CU HERE programs combine surcharge-free ATMs from credit union issuers and regional and national networks to give members a seamless offering of more than 50,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide. The recent addition of some 2,500 surcharge-free ATMs in the United Kingdom expands that reach internationally.Surcharge-free ATMs have become an important recruiting and retention tool for credit unions, as research conducted by BankRate.com concluded that the average ATM fee assessed to nonaccount holders rose 13% from last year, averaging $3.43 per transaction in 2008.The $3.43 average ATM fee includes the surcharge levied by the ATM’s owner for nonaccount holders ($1.97) as well as the fee that financial institutions generally charge for using an out-of-network ATM ($1.46), the network explained. An independent research study also estimated that U.S. consumers spent $8.8 billion on ATM surcharges in 2006 and 2007, and that amount is anticipated to grow in 2008 as ATM surcharge fees continue to increase.–[email protected]

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