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Man punches ATM over high fee

By Claes Bell ·
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Posted: 9 am ET

It looks like frustration over banking fees is reaching a breaking point for some people out there. From West Palm Beach, Fla.-area ABC affiliate WPBF-25:

A 29-year-old man faces a charge of criminal mischief after he beat up an automated teller machine because he was frustrated about being charged too much, according to the Indian River County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said Joel Gaudreault punched the ATM inside a Hess gas station Friday, causing the glass screen to break.

A clerk at the Hess told a deputy that Gaudreault started to yell, struck the machine and created a disturbance.

According to the arrest affidavit, Gaudreault admitted to punching the ATM because the service fee was too much.

While I've never had the urge to physically assault an automated teller, I can relate to being frustrated over fees for ATM withdrawals. When you add the most common ATM fee of $3 to the out-of-network ATM fee of $2 or more your own bank will likely charge, you're looking at $5 or $6 total to take money out of a typical gas station ATM.

To avoid ATM frustration so acute it ends up resulting in criminal charges, it might be good to set up a weekly ATM withdrawal when your day-to-day routine takes you past your bank's ATM. That way you'll always have a little bit of cash in your pocket. If that doesn't work for you, you can always get cash back from a debit purchase during your weekly shopping runs.

Smartphones can also be a valuable tool for fighting ATM fees, since many bank apps can now use your phone's GPS to find nearby ATMs.

What do you think? How do you avoid ATM fees?

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December 06, 2011 at 11:27 pm

I haven't paid an ATM fee in probably 15 years. I use them occasionally. When I had Bank of America .. I always used theirs. Never a fee. Now I have USAA and they reimburse you for all ATM fees at any ATM. That is all.

November 30, 2011 at 10:43 pm

USAA Bank reimburses for a certain number of ATM fees per month.

Alan Burks
November 29, 2011 at 4:09 pm


There is a very simple way to avoid ATM fees.

Use a bank that is a member of the Allpoint network.

Allpoint has over 40,000 surcharge free ATMs around the world.

My bank is a good old fashioned small town bank in Texas. First Community Bank. And I can use the ATM for free (no rebate schemes) at Shell, Walgreen's, CVS, Costco, Kroger and lots of other places all over Texas, the U.S., and even internationally.

All it takes to avoid hating ATMs is to be a smart bank consumer. Please share this with your readers.

Alan Burks