Most Americans Pay No Monthly Service Fees: Survey

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Free checking accounts may be on the wane, but a majority of Americans still pay no monthly service fees, according to a survey from the American Bankers Association.

Most Americans (55%) reported paying nothing for services like automated teller machine access and checking account maintenance, according to the survey of 1,000 adults.

That's a slight decline from a year ago, however, when 59% of respondents said they escaped monthly fees. The ABA said more people are paying fees because revenue from merchant swipe fees — which help cover the cost of maintaining checking accounts — has declined.

Ten percent of respondents said they spent $3 or less on monthly fees. At the high end of the spectrum, 14% estimated that they spent $10 or more on banking service fees each month.

"While providing free checking accounts has become more challenging in today's regulatory environment, a competitive financial marketplace — along with prudent account management from bank customers — means most people still pay nothing for the great service banks provide across multiple convenient channels," Nessa Feddis, the ABA's deputy chief counsel for consumer protection and payments, said in a press release.

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