As most bankers know by now, two California cities - Santa Monica and San Francisco - have banned surcharges on ATM withdrawals. In turn, some larger banks have responded by refusing automated teller machine access to noncustomers.

The issue, clearly, is a contentious one. USA Today had a novel suggestion for heading off clashes among banks, the government, and the public over ATM fees: Reward banks that don't surcharge with municipal deposits.

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