Between ATM fees, overdraft fees, and account maintenance fees, you can find yourself paying a lot just to access your own money these days.
Among the most egregious are out-of-network ATM fees, which have climbed 21% over the last five years, according to a new survey from Bankrate.com. The total damage — a whopping $4.52 next time you visit an out-of-network ATM — includes the average $2.88 fee charged by the ATM operator, as well as the average $1.64 fee that your financial institution will charge you for using someone else’s ATM.
Meanwhile, keep an eye on your balance — because the average overdraft fee is now a record $33.07, up 9% from five years ago.
Of course, even if you never overdraw your account or use an out-of-network ATM, your bank may be charging you a fee just for having a bank account. These monthly service charges (or maintenance fees) run $5.86 a month on average, and 63% of non-interest checking accounts have them, Bankrate says. Back in 2009, only 24% of banks charged such fees.
If you’re not careful, all of those surcharges can really eat into your savings. Here’s how to beat the fees and protect your hard-earned money:
- Look for accounts with no out-of-network ATM fees. Almost three in 10 banks will not charge an out-of-network ATM fee if you use another bank’s ATM. Some will even reimburse the fee other banks charge you for using their ATMs. If you’re not willing to change banks, plan your withdrawals in advance to avoid out-of-network ATMs.
- Opt-out of “overdraft protection.” Don’t be fooled. Many banks offer to “protect” you from overdrafts, by fronting you the money to cover a transaction if you don’t enough in your checking account. The catch: You’ll be charged that $33.07 overdraft fee. Be sure to opt out of this, ahem, service. If you don’t have enough money in your account, your debit card will simply be declined — and you can pay with a credit card or cash instead.
- Choose a free checking account, or learn how to waive the maintenance fee. Remember that 37% of non-interest checking accounts are free, with no monthly maintenance charge. Moreover, many accounts with monthly maintenance fees will let you waive the fee if you maintain a certain balance or, in some cases, transfer a certain amount via direct deposit each month. Know the rules of your account.
Read next: Never Pay an Overdraft Fee Again