Study: Consumers OK With Some Fees, Not Others

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Not surprisingly, consumers are not affected uniformly by financial institution fees, according to new research. More suprising, however, is how the type of fees may affect how satisfied consumers are with their institution.

According to Forrester Research Group, more consumers are charged ATM fees than non-sufficient-funds fees. But consumers mostly ignore the ATM fees, and instead become irked at overdraft fees, said Forrester in its analysis.

"Account fees are an important source of revenue for retail banks, but they don't affect bank customers uniformly," said Forrester. "For example, 14% of households with checking accounts are charged ATM fees each month, while only 9% are charged a non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee each month. Furthermore, 4% of checking account households get hit with both ATM and NSF fees," said Forrester.

Other findings:

* ATM fees hit high-use accounts. Consumers who typically incur foreign ATM fees each month are higher income, higher balance customers actively using their checking accounts for all types of transactions.

* Overdraft fees hit consumers who have lower credit ratings. Consumers with two or more overdraft fees a month transact more frequently against their bank balances and have less access to other sources of credit.

* Just 53% of consumers charged overdraft fees during the past few months report that they are very satisfied with their bank. That compares with 65% of customers with no overdraft fees who say they are very satisfied, said Forrester.

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