Most Bank Customers Think They Pay Little or No Fees

In an ABA survey of US consumers, 65% say they pay less than what it costs for gallon of gas. 55% say they pay nothing at all.

According to a study conducted by the American Bankers Association (ABA), two out of every three consumers say they spend $3 or less in monthly fees for banking services — e.g., ATM and checking account maintenance fees. The ABA quips that amount is less than the cost of a gallon of gas (currently around $3.50).

More than half of all Americans (55%) say they pay nothing at all for their transactional accounts.

Is this possible?

Yes, says Nessa Feddis, ABA’s SVP and deputy chief counsel for Consumer Protection and Payments.

“Today’s savvy consumers are avoiding many bank fees by taking steps like maintaining a minimum balance and only using ATMs owned by their bank,” Feddis said in a statement.

( Read More: The Tightrope Between Checking Fees And Consumer Defections )

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( Read More: Banks Jack Fees As Credit Unions Cling To Free Checking )

The number of people who pay nothing in bank fees declined slightly in the last year. 59% reported paying no monthly fees in 2011.

The ABA, still stinging from wounds inflicted by the Durbin Amendment, is trying to find a positive ray of sunshine in the banking industry’s tough fee environment.

“While providing free checking accounts has become more challenging in today’s regulatory environment, a competitive financial marketplace — along with prudent account management from bank customers — means most people still pay nothing for the great service banks provide across multiple convenient channels,” Feddis points out.

The annual survey of 1,000 U.S. adults was fielded for ABA by Ipsos Public Affairs, a widely respected independent market research firm, July 11-17, 2013. ABA has conducted the survey annually since 1998.

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