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For bank customers, more fee and less free

  • Survey: ATM surcharges are at a record high
  • Using another bank's ATM can result in double fees
  • Free checking accounts are down 50% in three years
For bank customers, more fee and less free

It's getting more expensive to keep your money in the bank, and to take it out.

ATM fees are at record levels and free checking accounts increasingly are hard to come by, according to a new survey from

Let's start at the money machine. ATM surcharges - the fees you get hit with when you use another bank's machine - went up for the eighth consecutive year, to a record average high of $2.50. And then there's the fee on the other end - from your bank, for straying. That fee now averages $1.57 per transaction. So, using another bank's ATM could cost you more than $4 a pop.

And, how about free checking? Bankrate found only 39 percent of non-interest checking accounts are fee-free for any and all customers. That number was 76 percent just three years ago.

Bankrate's CEO, Greg McBride, told CNNMoney that increased regulation has caused banks to look for new revenue streams.

But, are bank customers just taking it, or taking their business elsewhere? Nearly three out of four people surveyed by Bankrate said they'd consider switching banks if fees went up. That's up from 64 percent last year.

HLN Money Expert Clark Howard's advice? If you're unhappy with your big bank, seek out a small, community bank or credit union. They'll likely give you a better deal on a checking account. And if you join a credit union, you're a part-owner!

Click here to find a credit union in your area.





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