How Can You Find Surcharge-Free ATMs?

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How can you find free ATMs to use for cash withdrawals? Because people are carrying less and less cash these days, they often get into the habit of using ATMs more frequently to just grab cash any time they need it. Excessive ATM withdrawal fees (from $2-$5) can add up quickly, but sometimes your bank’s free ATM is not readily available. Thankfully, there are several fee-free ATM options to help you access your money without getting charged each time you need cash.

How Do I Find ATMs Near Me That are Free of Charge?

To be able to tell which ATMs will charge you for withdrawing cash, you’ll need to identify which ATMs are the same with your bank, which ones are part of interbank networks, and which ones have the STAR logo or another ATM network logo that includes your bank. The easiest and most desirable option, of course, is to use your bank account’s ATM because it will be free of surcharges. If that’s not available, many people find it easier to use the closest ATM to withdraw cash rather than to scout for surcharge-free ATMs that are within the network. Your bank’s website or mobile app can help you find their free ATMs using the ATM locator (a.k.a. the “ATM near me” feature), or by calling customer service.

No-Fee ATM Networks

Another option for surcharge-free ATMs is to use one that is in your bank or credit union’s card network. Much like finding your bank’s ATM, you can use the ATM locator tool or call your bank for help in finding a nearby surcharge-free ATM within your financial institution’s network. You can also look on the back of your debit card to see if the network logo is printed there and then find an ATM that displays the same logo. The list of Free ATM Networks are:

  • STAR Network: They have more than 2 million STAR ATM locations. Customers can use the locating tool from Star Network to look for one of their ATMs.
  • CO-OP ATM: They have more than 30,000 ATM networks for members of credit unions without paying a surcharge. The CO-OP ATM Network is also available in 7-Eleven, most supermarkets, and credit union branches all over the U.S. Additionally, credit unions in the CO-OP network may allow you to walk into another credit union branch and work with a teller through a “shared branching” option. Contact your credit union for more details.
  • PULSE: This ATM network has over 380,000 ATMs in the U.S that can be found by PULSE ATM Locator.
  • MoneyPass ATM: with over 25,000 surcharge-free ATMs. Customers can open www.moneypass.com/atm-locator to find the ATM location.
  • PLUS Alliance Network: PLUS is a visa card alliance with 1million ATMs throughout 170 countries. ATM Networks are available in Target, Costco, Walgreens, CVS, Bi-Lo, and Getgo.
  • Allpoint and Transfund: These are two of the largest ATM networks in the country with over 56,000 ATMs between them across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The ATM machine is located in many stores including Costco, Target, CVS, RiteAid, and Walgreens
  • SUM logo: People who hold cards with the bright red SUM logo don’t pay a withdrawal surcharge at the ATM. It offers surcharge-free access to ATMs in the United States.

If you do use an ATM that’s not at your bank or within your bank’s network, you may be subject to charges from both institutions (your bank and the bank or network associated with the ATM you’re using). That’s why it’s best to ask your bank their policy regarding ATM fees. Keep in mind that we are strictly talking about using your debit card to withdraw money. If you use your credit card to withdraw money, technically that will be considered a cash advance on your credit card and will incur interest so it’s best to never do that unless it’s an absolute emergency. When using an ATM, it is also important to protect yourself against identity theft.

Ways to Avoid ATM Fees

If you’re not happy with your current bank’s ATM fee structure, with a little leg work, you can find banks that are part of a large fee-free ATM network or compare their ATM surcharge fees for withdrawing money at other banks or out-of-network ATMs. Just make sure it’s worth changing banks as what you save in ATM fees, could result in other fees that don’t really provide advantages or benefits. Many online banks don’t charge ATM fees since their overhead is lower than brick-and-mortar banks. In the case of Ally Bank, they will refund up to $10 in ATM fees each statement cycle, giving you some flexibility in using ATMs. Other online banks such as Simple or Chime have great options for ATM usage. Simple has a fee-free ATM finder on their website and allows customers to use ATMs in Walmart, Costco, Dunkin Donuts, Walgreens, Hess, Target, and CVS, without being charged a fee. Chime’s network has more than 38,000 fee-free MoneyPass ATMs.

Another way to save on ATM fees is to simply budget and plan ahead for your financial needs each day, week, or month and reduce the number of times you need to use an ATM. This is useful since most banks and credit unions have a daily limit on how much you can withdraw from an ATM and going beyond that requires you to visit a bank teller in person to withdraw funds. Still, some consumers often make purchases with their debit cards and use the cash-back option if provided—another great way to avoid ATM fees. Most grocery stores, drugstores, and larger stores such as Target offer this option. Conversely, you can load your debit card account with enough money to cover using the debit card for straight purchases and bypass visiting an ATM for cash altogether. Another option is to use your mobile wallet (e.g., Apply Pay or Samsung Pay) for purchases, rather than withdrawing money from an ATM.

In rare instances, you may use an ATM that is clearly within your network and be surprised to find a notice on the screen stating that you will incur a fee or surcharge. If this happens, contact your bank to report this error and have the fee reimbursed. Banks may not have control over an independent ATM machine and your bank should be alerted to the situation. Additionally, find out if your bank offers ATM fee rebates for any fees that ATM owners add to your withdrawals. 

While ATM fees may occur, it is easier than you think to find ways to avoid them and find a free ATM if you’re willing to do a little research, talk to your bank or credit union, or find alternatives to withdrawing money at all and go straight to purchasing with your debit card. 

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