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How to Save Money on ATM Fees
I recently heard the argument for removing the penny from the US currency. It made me wonder if we will ever get to the point where we don’t have currency at all since so many people use plastic. I mean, if you have a (debit) card that represents your money, what else could you need?
Well, the problem comes in when you use that same card to get cash. At least that’s where the fees can come in, and they can add up too. It can turn a $2.00 ice cream fix into a $7.50 crime. Imagine you just want that ice cream fix but you don’t have cash. You are at a little ice cream stand that doesn’t take plastic, so you run to the closest ATM machine. They charge a $3.50 fee, but your bank also charges a $2.00 fee. But, you aren’t thinking about that. You are just thinking that it’s hot and you want some ice cream. When you sit down and do the math, that ice cream just doesn’t taste as good.
So let’s chat about how to keep that from happening. Here are some tips for reducing ATM fees.
- Better Planning. If you use an envelope system for your budget, then you will either have the money or you won’t and if you stick to that, you will reduce random ATM runs.
- Get Cash Back. If you are using your debit card for a purchase, there is rarely – if ever – a charge for getting cash back from your transaction. Do some pre-planning when you are going shopping and think ahead to see if you will need any cash.
- Find a Fee Free ATM. You can do a Google search to find fee free ATM’s in your area, or you can visit AllPoint to find one of their fee free ATM’s. They also feature a mobile app for convenience.
- Find a Better Bank. Some banks or credit unions offer fee free ATM’s and reimburse you for any out of network ATM’s. If yours doesn’t, it might be a good opportunity to switch banks.
- Micro Emergency Fund. My dad taught me to always keep an extra $5, $10, or $20 bill in my wallet for the unexpected. That can really pay off these days, more so than when he recommended it.
In the end (and thankfully) cash is still king. I have not heard of anyone charging surcharges for using cash, yet.
Hopefully you found this helpful. If you want to put it in perspective, if you save one $3.50 ATM fee every week, that can add $182.00 per year to your savings. And if you compound that savings over 20 years at just 3%, you will have nearly an additional $5,000 in your retirement. Look, you just paid for your retirement cruise. 🙂
How about you all? How often do you find yourself paying ATM fees for getting cash? Does it happen often, or only in rare occasions where you are in a bind/emergency? Does your bank charge you a fee to use the ATM?
In the future, do you think a fee will start being charged for using CASH?
Share your experiences by commenting below!
Jacob’s Thoughts – Listed below are my random thoughts as I was reading this article.
- Great post here, Anthony! Thanks so much for sharing it with us today!
- It really breaks my heart when I am in a bar, restaurant, or convenience store and see someone using the “convenience ATM” within the establishment, as you can almost be assured that this person is paying a pretty hefty fee just to withdraw the small amount of money needed to cover their bill.
- Personally, I think that in today’s competitive banking environment, people should not have to EVER pay an ATM fee, as there is almost always some way to avoid it (except maybe when you are traveling abroad in another country – it’s hard to get around it totally in that case!).
- @ How I avoid ATM fees –
- For the most part, Anthony covered the main ways I save myself from having to pay ATM fees.
- First, my bank (Bank of America) does not charge fees in general to use the ATM. In fact, it seems that they prefer you to bank that way to save on cost of labor inside branches.
- Second, I try to always carry around about $20-$30 in cash in my wallet at all times. I use this cash only in case of emergencies when credit cards/debit cards are not accepted.
- @ Will there ever be a surcharge for paying in cash?
- Anthony brings up an interesting idea to think about – will stores start charging a fee in order to pay with cash vs. paying with plastic?
- With the funds infrastructure the way it currently is (I don’t think it costs anything for a store owner to go to the bank and withdraw cash to use for change, etc), I think we’re still a good ways from this happening.
- What do you all think about this question?
***Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/z0/5544921651/sizes/l/in/photostream/