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How to Avoid ATM Fees

Written by Nickel - 9 Comments

Here’s a quick tip on avoiding those pesky ATM fees… If you can’t get to an in-network ATM consider asking for cash back when you make a debit card purchase. Many stores allow you to do this, and banks generally treat it as part of the purchase, so it’s a fee-free way to get your hands on some cash. Obviously, you don’t want to be penny-wise and pound-foolish, so make sure you don’t waste money on a purchase just to get ‘free’ access to your funds. Then again, with dual fees (from the ATM owner as well as your bank) now the norm, even a small unnecessary purchase could be smarter than using an out-of-network ATM.

Published on March 16th, 2007 - 9 Comments
Filed under: Banking, Frugality

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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9 Responses to “How to Avoid ATM Fees”

  1. 1
    Easy E Says:

    Or you could get an everbank checking account. They will refund ATM charges upto $6/mo.

  2. 2
    Tom Says:

    My strategy involves carrying far more cards. I have accounts at two major banks in the area with tons of ATMs. I also have an ING Electric Orange account which means I get free access at Allpoint ATMs (about 30000 of those puppies). Then I’m also planning to start building a relationship with a credit union who is a member of the COOP network which has another 10000, including all 7/11 ATMS. With those four cards it will be almost impossible to not be able to access at least some of my money.

  3. 3
    Tinyhands Says:

    I’ve been doing this for a while, even though my bank (E*Trade) refunds ATM fees as well. It means planning cash expenses a bit in advance, but I’m an old set-in-my-ways kinda guy so that isn’t hard.

  4. 4
    Karen Says:

    I remember an old Rita Rudner (comedian) routine where she said she had to buy a dress so she’d have change for gum. :)

  5. 5
    LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    I do it whenever we are traveling and need cash. Buy usually a soda and get cash back.

  6. 6
    Saving Advice Says:

    When I was in the US, I would use the strategy when I found myself a bit short of cash. Don’t think I ever purchased something just to get cash though – I could see this becoming an expensive way to get cash if you rationalized it as something you needed (because you needed cash) when you really didn’t.

  7. 7
    jim Says:

    I used to do this all the time and get some free cash back. :)

    Buying something to get cash would be a totally different thing and I’ve never done that. Though, if pressed, I’d rather pay 50 cents for a piece of candy than 50 cents for nothing.

  8. 8
    creditnine.com Says:

    So simple yet something that is often overlooked, I mean i get cashback quite often but didn’t really give thought to how if i did it more frequently it could save on those outrageous atm fees.. thanks

  9. 9
    Dean Weidling Says:

    There are some banks that not only don’t charge and ATM Fees, but automatically refund ATM Fees charged when using other banks ATMs. One is an internet only bank called e-bank (well they do have one branch in Atlanta). In Florida we have “Great Florida Bank”. Great Floria is growing fast. I understand the urge to legislate but really, if the big players saw enough customers fleeing to these No ATM fee options the market would soon correct their bad behavior. I don’t understand why there is not more emphasis on this option. I people were more willing to change banks the problem would solve itself.

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