ATM fees reach another record

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The cost to use an out-of-network ATM rose to a record average of $4.57 as of October 2016, according to Bankrate.com. With a pro-business presidential administration and amid talk of weakening the watchdog Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, we wondered how high that ATM fees might rise in 2017.

Although none of the four experts whom we interviewed would guess, Mark Hamrick of Bankrate.com is certain that those fees will climb. “As long as consumers continue to use [ATMs], it’s reasonable to expect that we see the trajectory that’s established continue,” he says.

However, Hamrick adds that a rising interest-rate environment could create other opportunities for banks to increase their revenue apart from by collecting fees. “Over time, it may well be that there is some pressure taken off banking fees,” he says.

Rohit Chopra of Consumer Federation of America advises you to research what your bank provides. “Many banks now offer automatic ATM reimbursement that allows a consumer to use any ATM without worry about those fees,” he says. (These banks typically operate online.)

Further, “consumers need to be careful that they’re not double-charged by both the owner of the ATM and their own bank,” Chopra says. “Looking carefully at all the fees—not just the one that shows up on the ATM screen—is critical.”