Americans are getting socked with record-high ATM fees

Getting cash from an ATM isn't always a convenience, at least when it comes to its cost. 

ATM fees reached yet another record high -- for the 11th consecutive year -- with the average total cost of an out-of-network withdrawal reaching $4.69, an increase of 2.6 percent from a year earlier, according to a new study from Bankrate. That fee is the combined amount charged by the out-of-network ATM's owner and your own bank. 

Thanks to the annual hikes, ATM fees have surged more than 55 percent over the last 10 years, the study found. 

Because both their own bank and the financial institution that owns the cash machine tack on ATM fees, Americans are getting hit on both ends when they visit an out-of-network ATM. On top of that, consumers are also paying more for overdraft fees, which have reached a new high of $33.38. 

"Despite ATM and overdraft fees continuing to hit new highs, they are completely avoidable," said Greg McBride, the chief financial analyst at Bankrate. "Plan ahead as to where and when you will use your ATM card. If you are in a pinch for cash, get cash back when you use your debit card at a point of sale."

Breaking down the $4.69 total fee, the average charge out-of-network ATM owners levy hit a new record for the 13th year, rising to $2.97 this year from $2.90 a year earlier, the survey found. The average fee from a consumer's own bank for using that out-of-network ATM rose 3 percent to $1.72, which Bankrate said was also a new high. 

ATM fees may be climbing partly because fewer Americans are withdrawing cash, which means banks are spreading the cost of operating the machines across fewer transactions. Americans made 6 billion ATM cash withdrawals in 2009, but that had dropped to 5.8 billion by 2015, according to a Federal Reserve study

"People are moving away from cash, and less and less go to the ATM," he noted. 

When it comes to overdraft fees, seven times the number of banks have raised their fee than those that have lowered it, Bankrate said. 

The worst-hit by ATM fees are residents of Pittsburgh, while Dallas residents have the lowest fees, the study found. The regional differences can be tied to issues such as market share and competition among banks. 

The survey examined 10 banks and thrifts in 25 large markets, as well as the ATM and debit card fee policies of 247 financial institutions in late July and early August. 

Highest average ATM fee by city

1. Pittsburgh                   $5.19
2. New York                    $5.14
3. Washington, D.C.       $5.11 (tie)
3. Cleveland                   $5.11 (tie)
5. Atlanta                        $5.05

Lowest average ATM fee by city

21. Cincinnati                   $4.30
22. Seattle                        $4.29
23. San Francisco            $4.23
24. Milwaukee                  $4.19
25. Dallas                         $4.07

Highest average overdraft fee by city

1. Philadelphia                $35.30
2. Baltimore                    $35.25
3. Miami                          $34.68
4. New York                    $34.63
5. San Diego                   $34.22

Lowest average overdraft fee by city

21. Seattle                        $32.20
22. St. Louis                     $31.85
23. Detroit                        $31.80
24. Boston                        $31.79
25. San Francisco            $31.44