If it seems to you that having a bank account is getting more expensive, you're right. According to a report released this week by Bankrate, ATM fees have hit a record high for the 11th year in a row, up 55 percent over the past decade. 

According to the report, consumers in Pittsburgh are faced with the highest average out-of-network ATM fee ($5.19), while those in Dallas have the lowest ($4.07). 

Meanwhile, other bank fees are going up too. The average overdraft fee reached a new high of $33.38 and only 38 percent of noninterest checking accounts are free without stipulation—about half as many as in 2009.

Sure, your bank will waive the monthly checking account service fee if you keep $1,000, $2,500, or more on deposit. Some brokerage accounts will also let you use ATMs free but require a minimum deposit. 

Instead, use these five mostly painless ways to avoid monthly checking account service charges and ATM fees. 

Monthly Service Fee

1. Get truly free checking. Genuine "free checking" doesn't come with any minimum balance requirement—it's free regardless of the size of your account balance. You're more likely to find truly free checking at a credit union, which is offered by 84 percent of credit unions, according to Bankrate. 

Most smaller community banks also offer free checking, according to the Independent Community Bankers of American trade association. We also found that primarily online banks like USAA Bank, Discover Bank, and Ally tend to offer free checking. 

2. Sign up for direct deposit. Maybe your bank doesn't offer real free checking, but its branches are convenient and you like it anyway. No problem. Many banks will waive the monthly service fee if you agree to have your paycheck directly deposited electronically into your account each pay period. A minimum $500 monthly direct deposit to Chase Total Checking, for example, will waive the $12 monthly fee. 

3. Look for a fee waiver for debit cards. Wells Fargo will waive its $10 monthly fee for its Everyday Checking if you use the account's debit card to make at least 10 purchases per month. Not all banks offer this deal, so ask.

ATM Fees

While you're enjoying free checking, don't forget that you can also rack up costs on careless out-of-network ATM withdrawals, which can result in double-whammy charges by the bank or vendor that owns the ATM, as well as surcharges by your own bank.

4. Use the fee-free ATM networks. Banks don't charge you for using their own automated teller machines, so be sure to seek out that freebie if you're with a big bank that has hundreds or thousands of branches and ATMs. Many smaller banks or credit unions are members of regional or national fee-free ATM networks, such as CO-OP and Allpoint, which offer 30,000 and 55,000 ATMs, respectively. Find locations using your bank's or network's mobile app. 

5. Take the free cash-back option at retailers. In many cases, you can avoid the need for an ATM altogether by exercising your cash-back option when you pay for purchases using your debit card at supermarkets, drugstore chains, and other retailers. Typically, there is no fee for this.