Most-hated-fee contest: Round 5

What’s the most irritating fee charged by banks, airlines or other businesses? The time is winding down for letting us know.

Following up on our story about 15 irritating fees — and how to avoid them — MONEY is on its way to crowning the biggest loser: The Most-Hated Fee of All. This week, we’ve been asking you to narrow down the field of 15 outrageous fees by picking your least-favorite surcharge among the three we’ve been spotlighting at a time. We’ve gone through 12 fees over four rounds; now, in the final round of the first go-round, we need you to cast your vote among the last three fees. And remember to return for the semi-final and final rounds, so we can choose the worst fee there is.

Here’s Group 5:

  • Giving your cash away at the ATM: The cost of using an automated teller machine that doesn’t belong to your bank keeps rising. For each withdrawal, you fees to your home bank and the cash-dispensing institution will total an average of $3.54. (For more about this fee, and how to fight it, click here.)
  • Coughing up to chat with a human being: It’s not just computer tech support; other businesses who want you to interact via computer or touch-tone phone may charge extra to talk to a live agent — $5 to order a pay-per-view movie, for example, or $15 to make a credit-card payment. (For more about this fee, and how to fight it, click here.)
  • Shelling out big bucks on retirement plans: Administrative costs and fund expenses in 401(k)s and other employer-sponsored plans can add up, especially if you’re at a small business: Fees for plans with $1 million in assets average 2.1% annually. (For more about this fee, and how to fight it, click here.)

Now you know today’s contenders, it’s time to vote for your least-favorite fee! Please add your comments as well.

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