Don't Look Now, But ATM Fees Have Hit Record Highs

Behind pizza-thieving rodents and those guys who aggressively hand out their mix tapes on the sidewalk, New York City's most egregious scourge is the cash-only bar or restaurant. Namely, because they send you scrambling for the nearest ATM -- and if you can't find your own personal bank, you are immediately subjected to the crippling, out-of-network ATM fees, and the financial burden they carry. Things are bad. 

They just got worse. 

In a recent slew of data released by Bankrate, average, nation-wide ATM fees (for out-of-network machines) have jumped 4% from last year, and upwards of 20% higher from five years ago -- bringing the average fee to $4.52, an all-time high. Using a study by financial analysis firm SNL Financial, Bankrate states the five largest banks in the US made upwards of $283 million in Q2 of 2015 alone. According to the Wall Street Journal, the increase in fees is directly related to pressure from consumer advocates and regulators to slim down overdraft fees and other similar charges. So, naturally, they just jacked up fees elsewhere. 

Surprisingly, NYC is not the city with the highest average fee. That undesirable honor goes to Atlanta, clocking in at a hefty $5.15, while New York trails closely at $5.03. Phoenix and Miami are also at the higher end of the spectrum, coming in at $4.88 and and $4.78, respectively.  

Inexplicably, San Francisco -- known as one of the expensive cities in the world -- forces you to drop a mere $3.85 per transaction. Cincinnati is the second-cheapest, at $3.86, with Kansas City ($4.01) and Dallas ($4.11) rounding out the lucky cities with (semi) reasonable fees.

Luckily for me, I keep all my money hidden inside a box of Boggle in my childhood bedroom. I suggest you all do the same. 

Wil Fulton is a Staff Writer for Thrillist. His fees have also just reached a record high. Follow him @wilfulton

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