Want to Get Around Those Pesky ATM Bank Fees?

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Sick of paying those annoying ATM fees? Join the club.

If you had the option to decide between watching a short advertisement or ponying up for an ATM fee, what would you choose?

It’s a no-brainer for me. I get so frustrated when I have to pay money to get my money. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

According to Time, an ATM fee, even though it’s usually a small $2 to $3 charge, is listed as one of peoples’ top aggravators on a TD Bank survey. Time said:

Non-bank ATM fees were given the nod as the most frustrating bank fees, named by 38 percent of those polled. (Overdraft fees, which cost far more than the $2 or $3 charged by ATMs, came in second, with 27 percent.) In a previous survey, 77 percent of consumers said it is not OK for banks to charge ATM fees, and the majority of consumers said that a fair fee for using an ATM is … $0.

This is where FreeATM comes in. Here’s how it works, Time said:

In lieu of a fee for using an out-of-network ATM, customers will be shown a 15- to 20-second targeted ad on a screen, and then be able to use the machine fee-free. It doesn’t matter if your card is prepaid or a regular bank debit card; FreeATM won’t add a fee.

Although the ATM machine won’t charge you, it’s possible that your bank or the other service that issued the card may tack on a fee of its own.

The advertiser-funded FreeATMs were introduced in New York in 2011. Twenty additional FreeATMs will be added in 20 New York neighborhoods in mid-August. Then the machines will expand to other parts of the country.

This sounds like a great service for consumers. I look forward to hearing about the company’s expansion plans.

Keep in mind, there are a couple of easy ways to avoid those annoying ATM fees, including:

  • Use ATMs in your network. Check with your bank to see if it will waive the fee if you utilize an out-of-network ATM.
  • Get cash back at retailers that offer the option when you pay with your debit card.

Do you pay a lot of ATM fees? How often do you use the ATM? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

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Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.

  • Brian in COS

    I wish the military bases would get these fee free ATMs, or 5-Star bank should get on the CO-OP network!! 😮

    • Tony Hoffman

      Almost every base has a Credit Union. Check it out…. No fees! And you can use credit union ATM’s nation wide for free. Credit unions are a good thing.

      • Brian in COS

        I love my off base credit union. Problem is the base credit union atm’s are on the STAR atm network which charges my credit union $2.75 to access their atm. There should be no charge from credit union to credit union. They should all be on the same network with no fees!

  • Vince Ryder

    If I understand this correctly, my average 45-second ATM session will increase in time by 35%-45%, minimum if I opt IN. If this catches on, the lines at some ATMs will get longer, causing a decrease in the number of sessions per location (and corresponding losses to that location, since everyone knows, some ATM users end up shopping where they get their cash). Therefore, I would expect the FreeATM option to appear only at places which do not get a high volume of ATM users (and it might actually increase usage at those locations). Also, I can see a bit of backlash from people waiting in line, possibly, knowing that every time the person(s) in front of them opts IN to FreeATM, their wait just got longer so someone else could save money. It would be interesting to see the business case made for these, and how it affects revenue streams for the various players in the ATM chain. One other point about lowering your ATM fees–take more money out at a time. The average withdrawal from an ATM is only 60 bucks, which makes a surcharge of $2.00 equal to a 3.3% fee ($2/$60). Taking $200 out lowers the fee down to 1% ($2/$200), a reduction of 70% in fees. If one can’t afford to take out $200 at a time, maybe its best to curtail spending until the available balance increases enough to do so.

  • Clinton Townsend

    @vinceryder:disqus….. No. Your time will not increase. FreeATM does not hold up the transaction processing time to show you an advertisement. Our software shows ads only while the transaction is waiting for your bank to process. Once the approval (or denial) from your bank is received, the ads immediately go away and your cash is dispensed. We don’t hold up the transaction time for liability and safety concerns. Most importantly, the decision not to extend the transaction time was made to ensure the highest quality of interaction that our customers receive at our FreeATMs.

    Sorry for the delayed response. We’re a small team so keeping up with every news article takes a bit of time. If you have any further questions or concerns about our service and its terms of use, please email me directly at clinton@thefreeatm.com or any member of our team at info@thefreeatm.com.