ATM fees and overdraft fees were big earners for banks in 2015. The big three banks America’s — JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC) and Wells Fargo (WFC) have reported more than $6 billion just from ATM and overdraft fees last year.
Based on those numbers banks are earning $25 for every adult in the United States.
High fees for taking out money at ATMs and paying overdraft fees, has become a big issue on the presidential campaign trail.
Hillary Clinton called ATM fees “usurious.” Bernie Sanders vowed that if he’s elected president, he will cap ATM fees at $2.
With most banks now charging customers a fee to use non-bank branded machines, and those machines also charging a fee, customers can easily pay $4 on average to withdrawal money.
That means a $20 withdrawal can include a charge of 20% of the withdrawal rate.
“In my view, it is unacceptable that Americans are paying a $4 or $5 fee each time they go to the ATM,” Sanders said in a recent speech.
For the first time, banks were required to disclose this information publicly in 2015.
While ATM fees are a popular talking point, overdraft fees are even more profitable at $5.1 billion last year.
Banks can only charge customers an overdraft fee when they get cash from an ATM if the customer “opts in” to that option.
The typical overdraft fee is $34 while the average transaction that triggers that fee is $24, according to industry analysts.
Overdraft fees grew in every quarter of 2015.
Fees charged to the average customer made up 4% of operating revenues for America’s three biggest banks in 2015.