5 Ways to Evade ATM Fees

5 Ways to Evade ATM Fees

This post originally appeared on All You.

You’re not just imagining it — your occasional stops to the out-of-network ATM around the corner are racking up more fees than in the past. In fact, a study from Bankrate shows that the penalty for using an ATM not affiliated with your bank rose 5 percent over the past year. That might not sound like much, but the average transaction fee across the country is now at a new high of $4.35 when you’re not at your bank’s ATM. This includes what the lender charges you for using their machine in addition to your own bank’s fee for using a third party’s services.

Why the hike? Ever since new federal banking laws and regulations were put in place after the 2008 financial crisis, banks have been limited on when they can charge overdraft fees. They’ve also had to decrease how much they charge merchants who use credit or debit card machines in their stores. Restrictions here mean that we, the consumers, pay the price with other increased fees elsewhere, like monthly charges for checking accounts that don’t meet a minimum balance and, of course, ATM fees.

So, to help you outsmart the bank with these piling fees, here are five ways to avoid ATM fees:

1. Download your bank’s mobile app. Whenever you’re out and short on cash, pull up your bank’s app to find nearby branch and ATM locations so you don’t have to worry about a penalty fee later.

2. Check your bank’s policy. See if your bank will waive out-of-network ATM fees altogether. If they don’t, there’s a chance they can also reimburse you for fees if you bring in the transaction receipt to a branch within a certain time period. If you make frequent trips to your bank (but need emergency cash every so often), this might be a good option for you.

3. Get cash back when you make other purchases. Many supermarkets, convenience stores and other retailers will allow you to get cash back while you make other purchases from them. This is essentially a free ATM withdrawal, but limits on how much you can take out from your account will vary by store.

4. Go digital. If you’re done with the mounting fees at your own bank, consider switching to a digital institution. Online banks like Ally and Schwab don’t have physical branches, so they won’t charge you for using another bank’s ATM. They will also reimburse you for ATM fees.

5. Plan ahead. The biggest no-brainer here is that you should plan ahead when you will need cash, and how much. Know your routine, map out the nearest ATM’s in your area and get cash back with a purchase ahead of time. Check out our guide to see if you’re ready for an all-cash budget system for you and your household.

More From All You

How to Spot—and Avoid!—Hidden Fees
How to Avoid Losing Thousands of Dollars With One Paperless Banking Mistake
Banking Fees Are on the Rise, But You Can Avoid Them (Find Out How!)


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