Both interest and noninterest checking accounts posted big increases in monthly service fees and the balances required to avoid them. On interest accounts, the average monthly fee is $14.15, up 8.5% from $13.04 last year. The balance required to avoid the fee jumped 43.9%, to $5,587 from $3,883, though these balances are increasingly permitted to be held in other accounts and not strictly in the checking account.
On noninterest accounts, the sharp decline in free accounts means 60% more accounts now carry fees and balance requirements. The average monthly fee is $4.37, up from $2.49 last year, and the balance required to avoid it is $585, more than double the $249 from one year ago.
Debit card fees are still rare, despite recently publicized cases. Only 4% of accounts charge a point-of-sale fee when using a debit card, and less than 2% charge a monthly or annual fee for carrying a debit card.
The average ATM surcharge hit a new high for the seventh consecutive year, at $2.40, up 3% from $2.33 last year. The average fee charged by one's own financial institution for going outside the network is unchanged from last year at $1.41.
The average nonsufficient funds fee (commonly known as an overdraft or bounced check fee) set another record of $30.83, up 1% from $30.47 last year. This keeps intact a streak of increases dating back to Bankrate's first annual survey in 1998.