ATM Fees Reach Record High, But You Can Avoid Them

There are steps you can take to access your money without paying the costly surcharges.

ATM Fees Reach Record High, But You Can Avoid Them Photo (cc) by Inha Leex Hale

Do you feel as if your bank is nickel-and-diming you with ATM fees? According to a new Bankrate survey, average ATM surcharges and out-of-network ATM fees jumped to record highs this year.

On average, consumers now pay $4.35 each time they use an out-of-network ATM, which includes a $2.77 charge from the ATM’s bank and a $1.58 charge from their personal bank. Overall, that’s a 5 percent increase since 2013. Ouch. If you commonly use out-of-network ATMs, those fees can quickly add up.

“The ATM fees go up at such a rapid clip because it’s really low-hanging fruit as far as fee income is concerned,” said Greg McBride, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst.

If you’re sick of throwing your money away on ATM fees, follow these three tips to avoid them:

  • Where to bank. If it’s inconvenient to get cash from your bank’s ATMs, consider switching banks, The Huffington Post said. Convenience can help keep money in your account.
  • Bank refunds. You’re wasting several hundred dollars a year if your bank doesn’t cover your out-of-network ATM fees, David Bach, vice chairman of Edelman Financial Services, told Today. Ally Bank and Schwab are two of the banks that reimburse you for out-of-network ATM fees, according to HuffPo.
  • Cash back at checkout. Withdraw cash from your account when you purchase your groceries (or a pack of gum) with a debit card. You can usually get up to $50 or $100.

While an ATM fee of $4.35 may not sound like a lot of money, those fees add up. Plus, spending your hard-earned cash to access your own money just doesn’t add up. According to Today:

“They keep your money for free and then charge you $4 to get your money back,” said Bach. “People don’t consider how much this costs in terms of percentages.”

I use ATMs only a couple of times a year. When I need cash, I usually ask for cash back at checkout. It’s quick, easy and free.

Do you use ATMs to get cash? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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