Bank ATM fees will go up or have gone up in the last few months. Banks need to turn a profit. If loans made them worried, fees will make you broke. In shocking news Bank of America plans to start charging customers a $5 monthly fee for using their debit card to make purchases. The fee will be rolled out starting early next year.
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The debit card fee isn’t the only unwelcome change for checking account customers are seeing either. The banking industry has been raising fees and scaling back on rewards programs as they adjust to new regulations that will limit traditional revenue sources.Starting Oct. 1, a regulation will cap the fees that banks can collect from merchants whenever customers swipe their debit cards. Those fees generated $19 billion in revenue for banks in 2009, according to the Nilson Report, which tracks the payments industry.
There is no similar cap on the fees that banks can collect from merchants when customers use their credit cards, however. That means banks may increasingly encourage customers to reach for their credit cards, reversing a trend toward debit card usage in the past several years.
So here are ten ways to beat ATM fees. Please add your own.
Here are some ways to think or plan in advance to try and avoid those ridiculous ATM fees:
Try to only use your bank’s ATMs– Obviously, this is where you want to start. If you can avoid using non-network ATMs and only use your banks, you can avoid fees on your ATM transactions.
Carry more cash/Take out enough cash or more cash when you do visit an ATM– Do you ever find yourself taking out just the minimum you think you will need, when you know that you will just have to make another ATM trip in a few days? I know I have done this maneuver many times. Instead, try taking out what you think you will need for a few days to a week- it will save you trips and from getting caught at a non-network ATM.
Look for a no fee ATM such as Allpoint Network of ATM’s– If your bank uses a network like Allpoint, you can avoid fees by using one of their locations, which are often in convenience stores or gas stations. I have an checking account at ING Direct, which uses Allpoint, so it comes in handy sometimes for me.
Get cash back when making a debit card purchase– I’ve been using this one more lately-stop in a local drug store, such as CVS in my area, make a small purchase, and get cash back. It works well when you aren’t close to one of your bank’s ATMs.
Change banks to ones that don’t charge fees– Some banks, like ING DIRECT Electric Orange Online Checking or Perkstreet FinancialSM Online Rewards Checking don’t charge fees to use ATM’s and have participating fee-free ATM networks ( like Allpoint, as mentioned above), making withdrawing money from a network ATM totally free. Also, Some online and and even some bricks and mortar checking accounts have started reimbursement programs to pay you back for the ATM fees you incur withdrawing money- although this is more common with online checking accounts.
Use your debit or credit card where possible– There are still places that are cash only, even some restaurants and other small businesses. But most places, you can use your debit card, so if you can, go ahead and do so.
Good luck and share your tips below.