1. Use banks that don’t have ATM fees.
The simplest way to avoid ATM fees is to just make sure you use banks that don’t have them.
Consider switching to a banking institution that offers free cash withdrawals if you’re someone who is withdrawing cash quite often.
Most online banks like Ally, Chime and Simple offer free ATM withdrawals because they don’t have any physical locations to get cash in the first place.
(For a list of banks with no ATM fees and banks that refund ATM charges scroll to the end of this article or use the navigation menu above)
2. Get cash back at the store.
How much is a package of top shelf, high dollar Ramen? 15 cents?
Next time you find yourself in need of some cash, stop at a grocery store or convenience store like 711 that offers cash back. Buy something useful like a pack of gum or the cheapest thing you can find (Ramen is your best bet).
While you might be paying for the item just to get cash back, it is better to get a few bananas and a pack of gum for $1.50 with your cash back instead of paying $4.00 to access your money.
3. See what ATM’s are “In Network”
Out of network ATM fees are pricier because of the associated fees you accrue since your bank doesn’t own that particular ATM.
Since your banking institution isn’t going to cover the withdrawal fees, you do. So in addition to choosing the right bank, consider going with a credit union.
Just another advantage of banking with credit unions, the Co-Op ATM network. Chances are your credit union is part of the Co-Op which means you have access to over 30,000 in network ATMs.
In other words – you won’t pay ATM fees.
4. Don’t use cash
Another quick tip to avoid ATM fees, don’t use cash.
With apps like Venmo and Paypal making easier than ever to transfer money, just be that person who has a friend spot them.
If you need a quick $5, spending another four to withdrawal it just doesn’t make sense. Have your friends cover it and shoot them $5.00 over on Venmo.
Don’t trust money sharing apps?
Consider minimizing where you use cash so you don’t have to pay ATM fees. If you’re the person who really just prefers to use cash, then see #5 below.
5. Go to the bank 1x per month
If this quick list describes you, then you might just need to make one trip to the bank per month:
- Doesn’t trust online banking
- Prefers to use cash
- Don’t want to switch your bank that has ATM fees
- No in network ATM by you
Whether you just put a mental check next to one, or all four of the characteristics above, get in the habit of making a monthly trip to the bank to get all the cash you need for the month.
To avoid making frequent trips to the ATM and incurring fees, just visit your banks local branch 1-2x per month during your lunch break.
Figure out what you will need cash for throughout the month and get it all at once. Label envelopes to store your cash and if you don’t use it all, just roll it into the next month.
*This is also a great approach if you’re someone who has struggled in the past managing credit cards and “Plastic” spending.*
6. Get on Google to avoid ATM fees.
Whether you’re in a rush or not, simply jumping on to your cell phones web browser and Googling “Free ATM’s near me” or “Bank Name free ATM use,” might save you a few dollars.
Chance are your bank has agreement with nationwide pharmacy chains, gas stations and possibly even other banking institutions to offer you penalty free ATM use.
Another option is to type in your bank’s name + “ATM” in your search bar.
For example, typing in Penfed ATM brought up a map with search options and filters that included a free ATM filter. You then can find an ATM close that is fee free.
7. Pay in coins.
Who uses coins anyways?
Nowadays very rarely does anyone pay in cash, let alone coins. But from time to time you might find yourself with a few coins in your pocket.
Keep a bag or area in your car reserved for all your spare change. Use it when you need to pay in cash to avoid withdrawing cash from the ATM.
While you might backup the drive through line the next time you get your chicken sandwich…at the end of the day, a company can’t say no to coins – it is still a form of currency.
8. Make use of Apple & Google Pay
More and more often you will find at checkout the option to pay with your digital wallet.
Even festivals, community events and vendors at entertainment venues that typically required cash just 5 years ago, are now letting consumers use their digital wallets.
Instead of using cash, just use your digital wallet!
|Pros of digital wallet pay:||Cons of using digital wallet pay:|
|– Simple and easy to use
– Easier to track spending
|– Not accepted everywhere
– Views as “Too easy” to spend money
– Doesn’t always work
Stores that are on board for digital pay like Apple pay include 711, Macy’s, Starbucks, Target, Trader Joe’s, Wegmans, and Whole Foods.