ATM Fees Rise as Banks Feel Funding Squeeze

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Before slipping the old debit card into an ATM, consumers may want to think twice if it's not their own bank's machine. ATM fees at these non-customer cash-dispensing outposts are edging up, with some hitting the $5 transaction fee mark, according to a Wall Street Journalreport.

Some banks are saying so-long to the standard $3 fee as they seek to re-coup lost revenue from debit cards and overdraft charges due to federal regulatory changes, the report notes.

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J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) is trying out a $5 non-customer transaction fee in Illinois, as well as a $4 fee in Texas. PNC Financial Services Group (PNC), meanwhile, is planning to terminate its ATM reimbursement program, which covers transaction fees at non-customer bank machines, later this year. And last week TD Bank Financial Group (TD) eliminated its perk that allowed its customers to use ATMs operated by other banks without charging those customers for a piece of the transaction fee.

Banks brought home a sizable $7.1 billion last year from ATM transaction fees. And of that multi-billion-dollar bonanza, $3 billion was collected by banks whose customers used another institution's ATM, the report notes.

As more banks are expected to weigh in with higher ATM fees, frequent ATM users may switch to institutions that have the largest network of cash-dispensing machines. Savvy consumers may also opt to double down when at checkout stands that allow them to get cash back when making a purchase, minimizing the impact of the non-customer ATM fee.

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