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Checking account fees rose 21 percent over the last six years

A recent study revealed that the average consumer pays approximately 21 percent more in basic checking account fees than six years ago.

The study, conducted by Javelin Strategy and Research, examined fees on basic checking accounts across 30 different financial institutions and revealed that consumers could pay approximately $7.72 per month in combined ATM and monthly fees compared to $6.36 in 2006.

Many banks have raised fees as mounting regulations impact revenue, costing the industry approximately $12.2 billion every year, the study shows.

“There are essentially more restrictions on the way banks can do business, so they really need to search for ways to address that revenue shortfall,” Beth Robertson, the director of Javelin’s payment research, said, according to Bloomberg.

Out of 30 different institutions, the study revealed that only two large financial institutions, including Ally Financial Inc. and PNC Financial Services Group Inc., do not charge monthly fees for basic checking accounts.

According to an April report by Pew Charitable Trusts, comparing accounts may not be easy for consumers, as disclosures for fee policies were often longer than 100 pages, Bloomberg reports.

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that the agency would launch an investigation into banks’ overdraft policies, as many consumers complain that banks reorder transactions to increase overdraft revenue.

Robertson said that, in order to recoup lost revenue, banks will eventually shift fees to other areas. Some banks are attempting to reduce costs for consumers. Approximately 86 percent of accounts studied by Pew would waive a monthly fee if the account maintained a minimum balance, Bloomberg reports.

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