Consumers Love Their ATMs But Hate Those Fees

ATM fees can cost consumers a lot of money — a $100 withdrawal can cost anywhere between 3% to 6% in transaction fees. Clearly, it pays for those switching banks to find a new institution with more convenient ATM locations.

In a December 2014 survey on FindABetterBank, over 2,300 consumers actively shopping for checking accounts shared their motivations for switching and provided insights into their banking behavior. 59% of respondents indicated that they use ATMs at least once a week, and 52% said they use other banks’ ATMs at least 30% of the time.

For many of these shoppers, using foreign (non-bank) ATMs carry high transaction fees. Most institutions charge $2 to $3 per withdrawal when non-customers use their ATMs and their own banks also charge up to a $3 surcharge fee as well. These shoppers can look for two solutions: Choose a bank or credit union with more convenient ATM locations or an institution that provides ATM-fee relief features like rebates or access to large surcharge-free ATM networks.

The survey results show shoppers are more likely to say they’re motivated to switch because of high fees than inconvenient ATM locations.

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Lower income shoppers use ATMs more frequently, but are less likely to use ATMs from other institutions. It makes sense that lower income shoppers are more aware of ATM transaction fees, which is why they are more careful which ATMs they withdraw cash from. These shoppers are most likely to select a bank or credit union with a dense ATM network in their area.

Younger shoppers are more likely than older shoppers to say they’re looking for better ATM locations. Shoppers under 30 years old are 8% more likely than older shoppers to have said they’re looking for a checking account from a bank or credit union that has convenient ATM locations and 15% less likely to have said high fees motivated them to shop.

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