Note to those low on cash: Stay away from Denver.
At $2.75, the mile-high city has the highest average ATM fee of any place in the country, 35 cents above the national average, according to Bankrate.com's 2011 Checking Account Survey. Capping ATM fees has been a call to arms for consumer advocates and the bane of existence for some banks, who say that curbing the fees would mean fewer private cash machines at convenience stores, restaurants and the like as well as a reduction in bank-owned ATMs.
Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said earlier this year that the average ATM transaction costs 37 cents, according to The Huffington Post. Harkin couldn’t get his proposed amendment to cap ATM fees at 50 cents to the floor in May.
JPMorgan Chase charged out-of-network customers $4 and $5 to take money out of their ATMs in Texas and Illinois as part of a pilot program in those two states earlier this year, according to CNN Money. The banking giant went back to charging $3 after too few customers were willing to pay the higher fees and opted for their own banks instead, CNN reported.
Luckily, even in the cities with the highest ATM fees, the average is lower than $3, according to Bankrate.com. Still, all five cities have a fee that’s higher than $2 or 10 percent of a $20 transaction.
And opting for a debit card instead of cash may not save you the fees. The Federal Reserve nearly doubled the limit banks can charge retailers and consumers for debit transactions, according to The Huffington Post.
If you’re looking to get cash on the cheap, then head to the Midwest, four out of five of the cities with lowest ATM fees are in the country’s heartland, according to Bankrate.com.
Here are the cities with the highest ATM fees, according to Bankrate.com:
New York has an average ATM fee of $2.60, compared to the national average of $2.40, according to Bankrate.com,
Seattle has an average ATM fee of $2.63, compared with the national average of $2.40, according to Bankrate.com
Houston has an average ATM fee of $2.69, compared to a national average of $2.40, according to Bankrate.com.
San Diego has an average ATM fee of $2.70, compared with the national average of $2.35, according to Bankrate.com.
Denver has the highest average ATM fee in the country at $2.75, compared with the national average of $2.40, according to Bankrate.com.