You're Right — ATM Fees Are Getting Higher

It costs money to use money sometimes, and while it's unfortunate, it's also just how the game is played. In the case of ATMs, we pay for convenience — especially when what's available isn't from our own bank. Yet even if ATM fees seem trivial, they can add up fast, especially when they're rising.

According to a new survey from Bankrate, not only are ATM surcharges higher than they were last year, they've been climbing for 14 straight years. Overdraft fees on checking accounts are the second-highest they've ever been, and the most common amount charged is $35. Just 8 percent of checking accounts are free, versus 73 percent of non-interest checking accounts 10 years ago.

One reason banks are getting more expensive to use is actually because they're pulling back from our day-to-day lives. As local branches shut down and more business is available through phone apps or online services, customers end up with fewer options. Getting cash back with a debit card charge is less flexible than an ATM or a bank teller. Now the average ATM surcharge is nearly $5, if you combine fees from your own bank and whichever one you're withdrawing from.

There are ways to sidestep these charges, but they do involve a little inconvenience. Stay aware of where you can find your bank's ATMs, whether it's within another chain (Citibank tends to have machines in 7-11 stores, for instance) or near a particular landmark. Most banks' apps and websites should have an ATM locator. Don't worry if you're in a pinch and have to withdraw from another bank — just be sure you don't make a habit of it.