Getting access to your money when you’re in unfamiliar territory — whether you’re on a vacation, business trip or just a night out on the town — isn’t always easy. It’s sometimes a tough task just to locate an ATM, and finding one that doesn’t charge exorbitant bank fees can be even more difficult.
At least, it used to be. Thanks to a plethora of free smart phone applications, more commonly known as apps, it’s easier than ever to find an ATM. The right application can even help you find your way to a machine that won’t charge you an arm and a leg. To download them, head to the iPhone’s App Store, Android Market or BlackBerry App World.
App: ATM Hunter
Platform: iPhone, BlackBerry
Features: This slick MasterCard app allows you to find ATMs based on your current location. A list pops up, with locations listed from closest to farthest away. Click on one and the app will take you to a map within the application. You can also filter results based on a number of factors, such as drive-through, 24-hour and no-surcharge locations. You can even text the information to yourself or a friend.
In addition, the smart phone app comes with more than a dozen ATM-related financial tips on selecting PINs, accessing money internationally and using fraud protection.
Other Notes: Though the app offers ATM searches for airports, the details and maps aren’t particularly useful, especially if you’re not familiar with the airport. And although thousands of ATMs are listed, some are missing. So, it’s possible that you may miss one that’s nearby.
App: ING Direct ATM Finder
Platform: iPhone, Android, BlackBerry
Features: Online bank customers rejoice; smart phone apps make the process of finding ATMs for banks with no brick-and-mortar bank locations a cinch. If you have an account through ING, you can find free ATMs near your current location or search by a specific address. Once you have what you need, you can view directions or e-mail the address — complete with a map link — to yourself or a pal.
Other notes: This app is nearly identical to another ATM app for Allpoint cardholders (Allpoint Global Surcharge-Free ATM Network), with one notable exception. If you’re in one of the seven U.S. cities with an ING Cafe, you can find directions to the location where you can get your cash with a coffee.
Platform: iPhone, Android, BlackBerryCost: Free
Features: The high-flying social networking app is known more for the badges it offers to busy 20-somethings who want to see and be seen. But it can also be good for those on the hunt for an ATM, with a searchable database based on your location as well as maps within the application. Unlike a typical ATM app, you also can include tips to help future customers, whether you want to let them know about dirty keypads, unsafe locations or even ATMs in restaurant bathrooms.
Other notes: It’s probably not worth downloading this smart phone app for the ATM tips alone. You’ll have to join Foursquare — it’s like joining Facebook — and create a password to take advantage of the features.
App: MoneyPass ATM Locator
Platform: iPhone, Android
Features: If you have a card with a MoneyPass logo on it, you can use this smart phone app to find ATM locations based on your current location and e-mail the address to anyone who needs it. You can get maps and directions, but to do so it will pull you out of the app.
Other notes: If you’re hoping to find an ATM at a place other than your current location, good luck. You can’t search by city, airport or street address — only by ZIP code.
App: Bank-specific apps
Platform: iPhone, Android, BlackBerry
Features: Many banks have added smart phone apps to their arsenal of tools, but not all of them offer ATM maps packaged within them. Major banks that have the feature in their apps include Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup, SunTrust and Wells Fargo.
Other notes: Not every smart phone app is particularly easy to use, and many will require you to sign up even to get basic information like ATM locations. That said, for users of a particular bank, it’s probably worth the hassle to enter some basic information because the app has the potential to save you a few bucks every time you’re out.