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As cash goes out of fashion, ATM fees soar

As cash goes out of fashion, ATM fees soar

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If you have an unquenchable thirst for beer but your billfold is empty, think twice before using that ATM in the corner of the bar — it might end up costing you more than your drink.

Getting your hands on your cash has never been so expensive, according to a Bankrate.com survey that found the national average out-of-network ATM fee has risen to $4.52, marking the ninth year in a row that ATM fees have increased. Fees are up 21 percent over the past five years alone.

The good news? According to Bankrate’s chief financial analyst, Greg McBride, the fees are going up because most bank customers have wised up to the “completely avoidable” charges for using another bank’s ATM.

The average debit card user withdraws cash from ATMs just twice a month, down significantly from a decade ago, thanks to increased availability of cash-back services at supermarkets and drugstores and electronic alternatives to cash, according to a recent study by consulting company Oliver Wyman.

“The fees are going up because with fewer users to spread their costs over, ATM owners have to charge more,” McBride said.

Overdraft fees also are on the rise, Bankrate said. The national average is up to $33.07.

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