The days of the free checking account are nearing extinction and ATM fees are on the rise, according to the latest financial research from Those annoying ATM surcharges that consumers incur every time they withdraw cash from a money mover that is not the property of the their bank have risen once again, to an all-time high of $2.50, up 4 percent from last year.

And lest you think we would mislead you by using a term like "skyrocket" in the headline to describe a mere 4 percent increase—there's more ...

You know the "not our ATM” tax that your bank lumps into your withdrawal that you only see on your statement later that month? That's now up to nearly $1.60—an 11 percent increase. Add the two price hikes and many bank customers are now paying loan-shark rates of about $4.07 just to withdraw some cash.

And guess what? There's even more! Free checking accounts are slowly vanishing. Only 39 percent of checking accounts now offered by banks are no-charge, compared to 76 percent in 2009.

Industry experts say that these changes are due to banks' losing money to tighter regulations on overdraft charges and debit-card-swiping fees, which have both helped the banking industry offer free checking in the past.


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