Financial institutions dramatically increased their ATM surcharge fees this year, a move that is both routine and necessary, says Greg McBride, senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com. The average ATM surcharge fee banks and thrifts charge non customers is $2.22, up 12.6% compared with $1.97 last year, McBride tells ATM&Debit News, a CardLine sister publication. Bankrate.com surveyed 250 banks and thrifts nationwide in August and released the results last week. The financial institutions increased their surcharge fees because fewer cardholders are withdrawing funds from ATMs not deployed by their issuers to avoid the fees, and they need to support their networks, McBride says.  "Surcharge fees are higher, but they are avoidable," McBride says. The survey, however, produced some good news. Foreign fees declined, the survey found. Foreign fees averaged $1.32 compared with $1.46 last year, says Bankrate.com. Banks and thrifts cut foreign fees to hold onto accountholders, McBride says. Bankrate.com is based in North Palm Beach, Fla.

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