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Fees and Football

By: Kari English

The banking industry has something in common with the replacement NFL officials this fall: people are not happy with either. Those same people are going to be even angrier when they read the latest study from, released last month, which found that almost every checking account fee the site follows went up, with some bank fees rising 25 percent or more.

In Bankrateís 2012 Checking Survey, only 39 percent of banks offered a checking account with no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fee ó the standard definition of a free checking account. That is down from 45 percent in 2011 and down substantially from its peak of 76 percent in 2009.

The study also found the average monthly maintenance fee for a noninterest-bearing checking account rose to a record high $5.48, an increase of 25 percent over last year.

The cost of using an out-of-network ATM also rose to a record $2.50, which is up 4 percent from last year. The fee a customerís bank charges for using an out-of-network ATM averaged $1.57, up 11 percent from last year.

The average NSF fee rose to a record high of $31.26, up from $30.83 last year, Bankrate found. The year-over-year increase is about in line with inflation at 1.4 percent, its website states.

There is one bright spot for banks in the study: Bankrate noted that many small banks and credit unions still offer free checking. So while there isnít anything you can do about the angry feelings toward the NFL, there is something you can do about the unhappy customers banking at big banks: Tout your fee-free checking accounts and steal their market share. Find out how by clicking the link below.

Tips for Stealing Market Share

Kari English is senior editor of BankNews.

Copyright (c) October 2012 by BankNews Media