Evening fellow readers!
So, it’s happened to everyone…You are out with your friends or on vacation, in need of cash, and forgot to go to your regular bank’s ATM before you left. But, bless your lucky stars, there it is! In the corner of the bar or convenience store, you see an ATM, and get some cash. However, later, you check your bank account online only to find out that you’ve been charged a $3-$5 ATM usage fee.
In a previous post at the link shown below, I described how one of the big benefits of having an account with a national branch bank is that you will not be charged non-bank ATM usage fees when you are traveling since national banks have many branch/ATM locations around the country.
However, I am happy to report that this may be a thing of the past, thanks to new ATM alliance networks such as Shazam or AllPoint (see links below to go to their websites)!
All Point ATM Network
Shazam ATM Network
How do these networks work? Pretty easy. Your bank signs a contract and pays to join the network, and as a result, you can use many non-bank ATMs for free, with no usage fee. Sounds good right?
The banks that are most likely to enroll in the use of these ATM networks are banks that do not already have a large system of ATM (examples of unlikely enrollees are Bank of America, Wells Fargo, or Wachovia). However, a local bank like Signature Bank of Arkansas in NW Arkansas, would be an ideal candidate for using this type of system. In doing a quick search, I found the following website on the bank’s home page – Signature Bank of Arkansas Shazam ATM Locations.
Similarly, INGDirect, an online bank, has a contract with the AllPoint ATM network of 35,000 ATMs that allows checking account customers of INGDirect to have access to their accounts anywhere in the USA. See the following link INGDirect.com Electric Orange Checking Account Free AllPoint ATMs.
When you contrast the size of the AllPoint network to Bank Of America’s largest one-bank ATM system in the country of 18,000 Bank of America ATMs, you can begin to realize how extensive this network really is.
The only drawback to the ATM network systems like Shazam and AllPoint is that since the ATMs are mostly located in convenience stores, grocery stores, restaurants, and bars, you will not be able to deposit money in to them like you can at Bank of America ATMs and at your local bank. However, this may not even matter because you are more likely to be spending money than depositing it when you are traveling away from home.
The key thing to learn from this post is to be sure to to check your bank’s website for which ATMs are eligible to use for free. Print out a copy of where the eligible ATMs are in the city you will be traveling to and take it with you. It could save you a lot of money when you need it most!
Keep on learning!
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