Hillary Clinton believes ATM fees are "usurious," as she told Stephen Colbert this week in describing her plans for reforming the U.S. financial system and cracking down on Wall Street. Is she right?
Politicos have been grousing about what lenders charge for money practically as long as they've been lending it -- Babylonian king Hammurabi capped interest rates on grain and silver in 1750 B.C., for instance.
Certainly, ATM costs aren't getting any cheaper. Quite the opposite, in fact -- the average cost of using an out-of-network machine in the U.S. is now $4.52, a record high, according to Bankrate.com. The financial hit for bouncing a check has also never been higher, at $33.07.
Around the country, Atlanta residents pay the highest average ATM fees, at $5.15, followed by New York ($5), Phoenix ($4.88), Miami ($4.84) and Milwaukee ($4.78). The lowest costs are to be found in San Francisco, where using an ATM costs an average of $3.85.
Whether Clinton is serious about cracking down on ATM fees is another matter. The charges have continued to rise through both Democratic and Republic administrations, with banks leaning on fees to offset a decline in other revenue, notably trading. Reforms enacted after the 2008 financial crisis, along with stricter government regulation, also have put stricter limits on other types of bank fees, such as credit card charges.