We’ve all been there; out for a night on the town, when you realize that you have no cash on you and must run to the ATM. You whip out your iPhone to see where your bank’s nearest ATM is – six blocks away. At this point, you walk into the nearest bodega and ante up the $3.50 fee for their ATM.
It’s important to understand how bank fees work. Aside from the nominal charge for the use of an out of network ATM, some banks will charge you a surcharge as high as $2.00 for using an ATM out of their network. That is on top of the fee you paid accepted when withdrawing money.
It’s not a huge amount of money, but it is completely unnecessary to outlay any money at all for ATM fees when there are a number of banks which will pay all of your ATM fees. These financial institutions are willing to do so because they find it easier to not have any ATMs, and allow their customers to use any which they find convenient.
Which banks don’t charge you atm fees?
According to the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank, more than 62% of ATMs are located off bank premises, out of major networks. There is a growing trend of bars, bodegas, and restaurants installing ATMs because consumers want easy ubiquitous access to their cash.
It may seem overwhelming to switch banks, but to save a few a few hundred dollars a year it is well worth the switch. Starting a new bank account doesn’t necessarily mean closing down your old accounts.
When I was starting my undergrad at Fordham I opened up a Schwab account, because there weren’t many Bank of America ATMs in the area. Over the past four years I maintained both my Schwab and BofA accounts, but primarily used my Schwab account for ATM withdrawals and use my BofA debit card more as a credit card. When going out on a weekend night I’d bring one card with me, so I always had a backup at home. Now, four years later, I’m in the process of closing my account at BofA and using only my Schwab account.
Sean O’Connor is a Fulbrighter, and will be teaching English and working with young entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka. He is a recent graduate of Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business, where he majored in Finance. You can find him on Twitter.