There’s not much I despise more than being charged to access my own cash. What’s worse is when you’re charged a fee from the ATM owner, plus your bank charges an additional fee for using an out of network machine. It’s a double penalty. I will do all that I can to avoid paying an ATM fee.
According to CNBC news, ATM fees have hit an all-time high. The average ATM surcharge is $2.97 and can exceed $4 for an out-of-network charge. As technology improves, we become less likely to carry cash. While living in a cashless society has its benefits, there are times when you just need cash (or a cash equivalent).
Five Tips To Avoid Paying Unnecessary ATM Fees
1. Use an ATM owned by your bank
Pulling money out of your account at an ATM owned by your bank is the optimal solution to avoid paying any ATM fees. If you’re traveling and unsure if your bank has an ATM close by, pull up your bank’s website or app, and you’ll easily find a map to the nearest location.
2. Your bank may be part of a more extensive network
Sometimes finding an ATM owned by your bank is easier said than done. If you bank with one of the giants such as Bank of America or Wells Fargo, it’s not a problem. They’ve got locations with the same frequency as McDonalds or Starbucks. But if you bank with a small credit union, or an online-only bank, finding a fee-free ATM can be challenging.
Luckily, most banks are part of a larger network, such as MoneyPass, Allpoint, or Co-op. Similar to finding a bank-owned ATM near you, you can pull up these networks on your Phone, type in your zip code, and quickly locate the closest location.
3. Opt for cash back at a grocery store
Stop by Walmart or CVS, or any grocery store. Buy a pack of gum or some food or household item you need. When you pay, click yes for the cashback option. This is my husband’s favorite strategy for avoiding ATM fees.
4. Pay with a cash equivalent
Use Venmo, or Paypal, or pay with your Phone. Apps such as Starbucks allow you to pay with your Phone and receive loyalty points at the same time. Or you can use your Apple wallet feature, or the digital equivalent if you own an Android phone..
5. Open an account with a bank that will reimburse you
This option is my preference. When I need cash, I don’t want to be bothered with having to search for a free ATM. If I need cash and the cashless payment options identified in step four above aren’t available, I don’t worry about it. My bank reimburses me for any ATM fees.
Several banks reimburse you for any ATM fees charged by the owner. Sometimes it takes a couple of days, but it’s worth it not to have to deal with the hassle of searching. If you’re in the market for a new bank, make sure this is a feature you include in your list of criteria.
What’s your favorite tip to avoid paying ATM fees? Let us know in the comments below.