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New ATM fees could change consumer banking habits

Apr 01, 2011 Brian Bradley

New ATM fees could change consumer banking habits
Many of the nation's biggest banks may soon take measures to increase their revenue in the wake of new federal mandates that curb added fees on checking accounts. Already, JP Morgan Chase has announced new $5 fees at ATMs. That means non-Chase consumers using the bank's ATMs face higher fees in addition to charges issued by their home banks for using another institution.
 Bob Sullivan wrote for MSNBC that such surcharges could alter the way consumers use ATMs and how they use existing accounts. He writes that increased fees at the ATM and surcharges for open accounts could send consumers running from bank to bank looking for the most affordable place to put their money. "Once upon a time, consumers could expect to earn money by leaving their cash sitting in a bank. Today, consumers must worry about their bank slowly bleeding money out of the account. The change is happening swiftly. Chase says it's converted around 8 million free accounts - many former customers of Washington Mutual - into follow-our-rules-or-pay-up-to-$144-annually accounts," writes Sullivan. Chase has received much of the negative attention for increasing fees, notably hiking the rate to $5 in Illinois and $4 in Texas - two states that hold approximately 20 percent of Chase's ATMs, according to CNN Money. The banks say the decision was made because of the money they will lose due to new federal regulations. Yet, it's not like banks weren't already benefiting from such revenue streams. The Wall Street Journal reports that banks brought in approximately $7.1 billion through ATM fees last year, $3 billion of which was generated through surcharging their own customers. "Essentially, they're going to help the bottom line of these banks and the banks are all trying to make money. And keep in mind: You can be hit with a double whammy. You can be charged by a non-bank that you don't deal with and charged by your own bank because you're using a non-bank that you don't deal with," said CBS News Business and Economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis. Chase is not the only one issuing hikes. CNN Money reports that HSBC introduced $3 surcharges in March, when previous rules slapped $3 fees on only 60 percent of non-customers.