Milwaukee’s overdraft and ATM fees among nation’s highest

Milwaukee financial institutions charge the second-highest average overdraft fee and the fifth highest average out-of-network ATM fee in the nation, according to a new report by Bankrate.com.

The average Milwaukee overdraft fee is $34.47, while the average non-network ATM charge is $4.66 per transaction.

Bankrate surveyed the 10 largest banks and thrifts in 25 of the largest markets in the country from July 10 to August 6. This is the 17th year Bankrate has conducted the checking survey.

The cities with the highest average ATM fees, which reflect the fees charged by the ATM operator combined with the consumer’s financial institution, also included Phoenix, Denver, San Diego and Houston. The lowest average ATM fees are charged in Cincinnati, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Los Angeles.

Overdraft fees are also high in Philadelphia, Phoenix, Boston and Denver. And the lowest average overdraft fees are charged in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Cincinnati and Dallas.

Nationally, the average overdraft fee is $32.74, a record high for the 16th consecutive year, and the average out-of-network ATM fee is $4.35, up five percent from last year.

“The ATM fees go up at such a rapid clip because it’s really low-hanging fruit as far as fee income is concerned,” since they’re usually charged to non-customers, said Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst.

ATM surcharges may even persuade a non-customer to open an account at the bank of an ATM they regularly use, he said.

“If a non-customer is always using a bank’s ATM and getting dinged with the fee, they may just throw in the towel and become a customer of the bank,” McBride said.

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