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FDIC Consumer News - Spring 1998

Important Update: Changes in FDIC Deposit Insurance Coverage

The FDIC deposit insurance rules have undergone a series of changes starting in the fall of 2008. As a result, certain previously published information related to FDIC insurance coverage may not reflect the current rules. For details about the changes, visit Changes in FDIC Deposit Insurance Coverage. For more information about FDIC insurance, go to www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/index.html or call toll-free 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342). For the hearing-impaired, the number is 1-800-925-4618.

ATM Fees Don’t Have to be Automatic    

Here are a few ways to minimize charges at the teller machine

Studies indicate that ATM “access fees” or “surcharges” are becoming more

Adding Machaine

common and more expensive for consumers who use teller machines that aren’t owned by their bank. The fees typically run $1.50 per transaction — although you can pay upwards of $3 or more — and they’re automatically deducted from your account. Banking institutions mostly charge these fees to non-customers to offset the costs of owning and running the machines. These fees can add up, especially for frequent users of ATMs. What can you to do minimize ATM fees?

•    Use your own institution’s ATMs whenever possible. Nearly all banks offer unlimited free transactions for their own customers.

•    If you use ATMs owned by institutions other than your own, try to use those that don’t charge a fee to non-customers. How will you know which ones won’t charge a fee?

You should see a sign at the ATM disclosing whether surcharges are imposed on non-customers, and you’ll have the opportunity to “opt out” of a transaction at no charge.If you have time to do some research before going to the ATM, call your bank and ask for names of other institutions that won't charge you a fee. Or, you can look on the Internet for lists of surcharge-free ATMs. One such Internet service we know of is from Bank Rate Monitor www.bankrate.com.

•    Consider withdrawing larger sums each time ($100 or $200 instead of $20 or $40) so you’ll make fewer trips to the ATM and save on the transaction fees.

•    If your bank is one of the few that charges its own customers for ATM use, try to conduct your business inside with a human teller whenever possible. Remember, though, that a few banks charge a teller fee, too.

•    Consider paying for purchases with personal checks, traveler’s checks, debit cards (which deduct automatically from your account) and credit cards. Many grocery stores now also let you get cash back when you pay by check or debit card. Remember, though, that these other options may carry their own fees, such as interest charges on credit card balances if you don’t pay at the end of the month.

•    If you plan to use machines a lot, find out if your bank or other institutions offer special accounts or features for ATM users. Fees can vary, so shop around.

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Last Updated 12/7/2011 communications@fdic.gov