I rarely use cash anymore, but it is inevitable that we all need cash for something at one time or another. To make sure you don’t get stuck throwing away money on ATM fees, plan ahead or follow these tips.
Do you really want to just give away your hard-earned money for convenience? I sure don’t. Most banks charge a fee to use their ATMs if you are not a customer, and your bank most likely charges a fee to use an out-of-network ATM.
Most banks charge at least $2-$4 to use their ATM, and most banks charge their customers about $2 to use other bank’s ATMs. In total, that is about $4 per ATM use. If you do a “quick cash” for $40, that is a $4 fee on $40, or 10%!
According to Statistic Brain, the average customer uses an ATM 7.4 times per month. Using out-of-network ATMs each time will cost you about $28 per month or $336 per year.
Just Use a Card
Almost every business allows you to use a credit or debit card and does not charge for that. Plus, using a good card you can get free flights. I use cash as little as possible to increase my mileage earnings.
If you are not an envelope method budgeter, just skip the cash and the hassles involved.
If You Need Cash
If you absolutely must use cash, which you probably don’t, here are some tips to avoid the ATM fees:
Get a No-Fee Bank Account
I use Charles Schwab Bank, and they don’t charge for using out-of-network ATMs. In fact, they refund other bank’s ATM fees anywhere in the world. When I needed Pounds and Euros during my last trip to the other side of the pond, I used my Schwab ATM card with no worries or problems.
Plan ahead and get the cash you need before you need it. Rather than getting stuck with a fee in a pinch, get enough cash at your bank’s ATM ahead of time to cover any potential need.
Because I use so little cash, I only keep $20-$40 on me at any given time for emergencies. When that goes away, I re-stock to make sure I am covered.
Know Where You Can Get Free Cash
Know where your bank has ATMs and try to get to those first. You can use your bank’s ATM locator on their website or do a quick search with your smart phone. If you have a bank where ATMs are widely available, it shouldn’t be too tough to find one.
How Do You Avoid Fees?
What do you do to avoid ATM fees? Please share your strategy in the comments.
Image by brh_images / flickr. Originally posted March 18, 2009. Updated January 4, 2013.