Same Story Different Day: Banks Fees on the Rise—AGAIN

Has this ever happened to you? I was in not-to-be-named small town Colorado and was in need of cash. There were two ATMs on the main drag, but sadly no credit union ATMs (which by the way is highly unusual—more on that later in this paragraph). I went to ATM one on the left side of the street and began my transaction knowing I would have to suck it up and pay a fee. Then I saw that the fee was $3.50. I immediately hit the CANCEL button and walked over to the other side of the street and began my transaction. This fee was $4.25. CANCEL. Thank goodness, I have the CO-OP ATM locater app on my phone and found a credit union ATM about a mile away. The only bummer was that I had to drive there (well maybe I didn’t have to, but it was easier).

It’s been so long that I’ve used an ATM at a commercial bank that I was shocked by the fees, but this is not actually news. CNN Money ran a recent article about general rising bank fees. The article referred to a survey that is produced two times each year. The last report, at the end of 2011, actually showed a decline in checking account fees, but this year that’s all changed.

“Monthly service fees averaged $12.08, up from $11.28 at the end of 2011, meaning customers are now paying an average $145 over the course of a year. The average charge at large banks was $13.88, compared with $9.87 at small banks and $11.17 at medium banks.”

Sure there are always way to avoid these fees, like opening a high minimum balance account.

“The minimum amount needed to open an account has also risen — from $391.41 at the end of 2011 to $408.76 this year. Overdraft fees have crept up 60 cents to an average of $29.83. The fee banks charge non-customers for using their ATMs has edged up from $2.37 to $2.40, while the fee banks charge their customers for using out-of-network ATMs has climbed from $1.10 to $1.28.”

We know there is an easier way—Join a credit union.

Of course, we’re preaching to the choir here, but tell your friends. There’s plenty of credit union love to go around at Coors Credit Union.

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