New York bankers say they're getting a bad rap on automated teller machine surcharges.

To counter accusations that too many banks charge noncustomers for using their ATMs, the New York Bankers Association released a study showing that 87% of its members do not levy surcharges.

Also, consumers can avoid surcharges at 4,831 of the state's 5,952 bank- owned ATMs, according to the report.

Of the 126 banks surveyed, only 16 said they had surcharges. The state's top three banks-Chase Manhattan Bank, Citibank, and Bank of New York-do not.

The trade group's survey was conducted in response to complaints by the New York Public Interest Research Group that more than one-third of the banks there charged the fees. The New York group and other activists have called on lawmakers to ban the fees.

"The New York Bankers Association surveyed every one of its members," said Michael P. Smith, president of the trade group. "Their responses show that those reports are simply misleading."

Mr. Smith said surcharges allow banks to afford ATMs placed in remote locations and should not be outlawed.

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