'Free' checking is getting expensive

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that so-called "free" checking accounts are more expensive than ever.

To avoid a monthly fee, customers must keep an average balance of $723 in their checking account. That's 23 percent more than last year.

Those paying for accounts are paying more too: the average monthly fee for non-interest checking accounts rose 25 percent to about $5.48. And that is not the only place where bank customers are paying more.

Financial website, http://www.bankrate.com/, says ATM surcharges rose 4 percent, hitting a record high of $2.50 charged, on average, for using another bank's money machine.

Here are the cities where it cost most to use an out of network ATM Denver is the most expensive with a charge of $2.80, followed by a tie between New York and Seattle at $2.70 then San Francisco and Houston are tied at $2.69.

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