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Greg McBride

Greg McBride: Avoid record ATM fees

By Greg McBride ·
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Posted: 6 am ET

You're clear across the country or just across town, you need cash and you're nowhere near one of your bank's ATMs. So, you hit the first cash machine you find -- and can't believe how much it wants to charge you for the transaction.

Believe it. ATM fees have hit another record high.

ATM fees on a losing streak for consumers

The expense of making an ATM withdrawal outside of your bank's network keeps going up. For the 9th consecutive year, the average cost of an out-of-network ATM withdrawal has reached an all-time high, according to a Bankrate survey.

And what many consumers don't realize is that there's not just 1, but 2 fees involved. Your bank dings you for going outside its network borders, and then you're hit with another fee charged by the ATM owner. Together, these fees can really sting, now totaling an average $4.52. That means if you make a $20 "fast cash" withdrawal, you'll pay almost 23% in fees.


Don't settle for high fees

While the fees continue to rise, avoiding them is still easily done. Plan ahead for where and when you'll make your ATM withdrawals so you're doing it on your bank's turf, not another's. Use your banking app to locate the closest fee-free ATM. If you're really in a pinch for cash, you can get cash back by using your debit card for a small purchase at the nearest supermarket or pharmacy.

Incurring high ATM fees once isn't going to break you, but repeatedly incurring these charges just might.

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Jim Shrayef
December 10, 2015 at 8:41 pm

Just wondering... is this guy being paid by the banks?

November 09, 2015 at 9:17 am

Mr. McBride makes quite a convenient argument for banks when they blame "the indie ATM owner" for "another fee". ATM owners make the investment in the ATM, providing the cash, providing service to the location, taking a variety of security risks and more. The bank is getting a profit, making a fee on the back of the ATM owner's efforts.
A bank's customer is using an indie ATM because the bank generally lacks the marketplace coverage or convenience, when/where their customer needs the cash. In effect, the bank is punishing their customer for what they deem as disloyalty. They are unfairly draining their customer, while making ATM withdrawals too expensive.
Furthermore, the rates showing for the ATM surcharge and the foreign bank fees are completely skewed. The ATM surcharge number reflects the bank ATM's higher surcharges vs. ISO/IAD surcharge levels. The foreign bank fee number is completely out of whack. Both BOA and WF have a $2.50 "foreign bank fee". These
numbers need to be debunked.

November 05, 2015 at 12:35 am

I quit using banks back in 2010, Do NOT miss them, Or their BS fees!

November 04, 2015 at 12:51 pm

What a terrible article. Avoid ATM fees by not using ATM's. Glad this is on the front page of Comcast.