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ABA Survey: Most Bank Customers Pay Little or No Fees


Aug 26 - According to a recent survey by the American Bankers Association, most bank customers — 65 percent — spend $3 or less in monthly fees for banking services such as checking account maintenance and ATM access—less than the cost of a gallon of gas. The majority of Americans — 55 percent — continue to pay nothing at all. 

“Today’s savvy consumers are avoiding many bank fees by taking steps like maintaining a minimum balance and only using ATMs owned by their bank,” said Nessa Feddis, ABA’s senior vice president and deputy chief counsel for Consumer Protection and Payments. “These results prove that most customers responsibly manage their accounts, allowing them free access to a service that ensures their money is safe and available day and night.”

The annual survey of 1,000 U.S. adults was conducted for ABA by Ipsos Public Affairs, an independent market research firm, July 11-17, 2013.  ABA has conducted the survey annually since 1998. 

When asked “How much do you estimate you spend on fees for banking services each month, such as fees for checking account maintenance, ATM use and so forth?,” consumers provided the following responses:

The number of people who pay nothing in bank fees declined slightly in the last year (59 percent reported paying no monthly fees in 2011), due in part to government-imposed reductions in the fees that merchants pay banks to use the payment system. This is revenue that banks rely upon to help cover the cost of providing checking accounts. Nonetheless, many savvy customers are continuing to prevent themselves from owing fees.

“While providing free checking accounts has become more challenging in today’s regulatory environment, a competitive financial marketplace — along with prudent account management from bank customers — means most people still pay nothing for the great service banks provide across multiple convenient channels,” said Feddis. 

About the Survey

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted July 11-17, 2013. For the survey, a national sample of 1,000 adults aged 18 and older were interviewed by telephone. Weighting was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100 percent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been if the entire population of adults aged 18 and older in the United States had been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.