Never Pay an ATM Fee Again: 8 Ways To Avoid ATM Fees

Looking for a lucrative industry to start a business in? Consider the ATM fee business.

All kidding aside, banks make a boat aircraft carrier load of money on ATM fees and overdraft charges.

Since 2015, when banks were mandated to disclose how much money they made off of ATM and overdraft fees, the numbers have been astounding.

According to CNN Money, in 2016 the big three – JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo – racked up $6.4 billion in ATM and overdraft fees. Or an average of about $25 per American adult.

With the average out of network ATM fee costing consumers $4.69 towards the tail end of 2017, many are left wondering:

How do I never pay a single ATM fee again?

What you'll read:

Learn how to avoid ATM fees, which banks offer FREE ATM withdrawls, and 8 Creative tips to making sure you never pay an ATM fee again!

Here is a list of 8 ways to avoid paying another ATM fee again.

Never pay another ATM fee again by using these 8 tricks to avoiding the costly fees!

1. Use banks that don’t have ATM fees.

The simplest way to avoid ATM fees is to just make sure you use banks that don’t have them.

Consider switching to a banking institution that offers free cash withdrawals if you’re someone who is withdrawing cash quite often.

Most online banks like Ally, Chime and Simple offer free ATM withdrawals because they don’t have any physical locations to get cash in the first place.

(For a  list of banks with no ATM fees and banks that refund ATM charges scroll to the end of this article or use the navigation menu above)

Check out Ally’s Interest Checking Account that has no ATM fees.

2. Get cash back at the store.

How much is a package of top shelf, high dollar Ramen? 15 cents?

Next time you find yourself in need of some cash, stop at a grocery store or convenience store like 711 that offers cash back. Buy something useful like a pack of gum or the cheapest thing you can find (Ramen is your best bet).

While you might be paying for the item just to get cash back, it is better to get a few bananas and a pack of gum for $1.50 with your cash back instead of paying $4.00 to access your money.

3. See what ATM’s are “In Network”

Out of network ATM fees are pricier because of the associated fees you accrue since your bank doesn’t own that particular ATM.

Since your banking institution isn’t going to cover the withdrawal fees, you do. So in addition to choosing the right bank, consider going with a credit union.

Just another advantage of banking with credit unions, the Co-Op ATM network. Chances are your credit union is part of the Co-Op which means you have access to over 30,000 in network ATMs.

In other words – you won’t pay ATM fees.

Related: Check out Allpoint to see if your card provider is part of the surcharge free network!

4. Don’t use cash

avoid atm fees

Another quick tip to avoid ATM fees, don’t use cash.

With apps like Venmo and Paypal making easier than ever to transfer money, just be that person who has a friend spot them.

If you need a quick $5, spending another four to withdrawal it just doesn’t make sense. Have your friends cover it and shoot them $5.00 over on Venmo.

Don’t trust money sharing apps?

Consider minimizing where you use cash so you don’t have to pay ATM fees. If you’re the person who really just prefers to use cash, then see #5 below.

5. Go to the bank 1x per month

If this quick list describes you, then you might just need to make one trip to the bank per month:

  • Doesn’t trust online banking
  • Prefers to use cash
  • Don’t want to switch your bank that has ATM fees
  • No in network ATM by you

Whether you just put a mental check next to one, or all four of the characteristics above, get in the habit of making a monthly trip to the bank to get all the cash you need for the month.

To avoid making frequent trips to the ATM and incurring fees, just visit your banks local branch 1-2x per month during your lunch break.

Figure out what you will need cash for throughout the month and get it all at once. Label envelopes to store your cash and if you don’t use it all, just roll it into the next month.

*This is also a great approach if you’re someone who has struggled in the past managing credit cards and “Plastic” spending.*

6. Get on Google to avoid ATM fees.

Whether you’re in a rush or not, simply jumping on to your cell phones web browser and Googling “Free ATM’s near me” or “Bank Name free ATM use,” might save you a few dollars.

Chance are your bank has agreement with nationwide pharmacy chains, gas stations and possibly even other banking institutions to offer you penalty free ATM use.

Another option is to type in your bank’s name + “ATM” in your search bar.

For example, typing in Penfed ATM brought up a map with search options and filters that included a free ATM filter. You then can find an ATM close that is fee free.

7. Pay in coins.

Who uses coins anyways? (See Coinstar article for coin help)

Nowadays very rarely does anyone pay in cash, let alone coins. But from time to time you might find yourself with a few coins in your pocket.

Keep a bag or area in your car reserved for all your spare change. Use it when you need to pay in cash to avoid withdrawing cash from the ATM.

While you might backup the drive through line the next time you get your chicken sandwich…at the end of the day, a company can’t say no to coins – it is still a form of currency.

8. Make use of Apple & Google Pay

More and more often you will find at checkout the option to pay with your digital wallet.

Even festivals, community events and vendors at entertainment venues that typically required cash just 5 years ago, are now letting consumers use their digital wallets.

Instead of using cash, just use your digital wallet!

Pros of digital wallet pay:

Cons of using digital wallet pay:
– Simple and easy to use
– Easier to track spending
– Convenient
– Not accepted everywhere
– Views as “Too easy” to spend money
– Doesn’t always work

Stores that are on board for digital pay like Apple pay include 711, Macy’s, Starbucks, Target, Trader Joe’s, Wegmans, and Whole Foods.

For a full list of which stores accept Apple Pay, use this link.

List of banks with no ATM Fees:

Here is a quick list of banks that offer surcharge free access to ATMs or that offer reimbursement:

  1. Axos Bank
  2. Ally Bank
  3. IncredibleBank
  4. TIAA Bank
  5. PNC
  6. Capital One
  7. Chime
  8. Simple
  9. Fidelity
  10. Radius Bank

Related: 17 Ways to Stop Spending Money

Our take on ATM fees.

Sure, banks having to install money dispensing machines all around the country can be pricey on their end. And not every bank can have an ATM machine on every corner, hence the out of network ATM fees.

But think about it this way – you’re paying money to take your money out of your checking account.

Banks already use our money to make more money, so by in nature paying a fee to withdraw your cash is just lining their wallets, and not yours. That being said, always make sure to take advantage of avoiding ATM fees.

If an ATM fee is just $2.00, which is extremely low, at least by a couple bananas at the grocery store and get cash back. Spend the two bucks on your health. It only makes sense to use ATM’s when you find yourself in a precarious situation.

So make sure next time you need some fast cash you did it the smart way and avoid contributing to the billion-dollar ATM fee industry!

atm fees

Other Banking Posts:

    Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $200,000 in student loans with his wife in less than four years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post and more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, helping others with their debt and recommend using Personal Capital to track your finances.