The War on ATM Fees

A brawl breaks out over surcharges that banks levy on consumers for withdrawing their own cash

Consumers have come to believe that automated teller machines should distribute cash. Banks believe that ATMs should collect some too--say, a $1.50 bite out of each cash withdrawal at a bank where you're not a customer. And that's just the first bite, because often when you make such a withdrawal, two banks can get into your wallet. The combined ATM fees can reach $3.50 or more. Such sums have now sparked a nationwide legislative brawl over profitable ATM surcharges.

Consider the turmoil at ATMs in San Francisco and Santa Monica, Calif., which became the first U.S. cities to ban bank...

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