Our pick for free ATM access: Axos Bank Essential Checking
Minimum to open
- Direct Deposit Express
- No monthly maintenance fees
- Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements
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Nearly everyone has found themselves begrudgingly spending several dollars just to use an ATM. While four or five bucks here or there doesn’t sound like that much, over time those fees can start to add up. If ATM fees are frustrating you, there are a few things you can do to keep them down.
Believe it or not, some banks will let you use any ATM for free and even reimburse you for fees other banks charge. Bank of America offers several fee-free checking account options. Chase, Bank of America, Citibank and Wells Fargo all also offer accounts with unlimited ATM reimbursements, but they have high account minimums — the lowest is Bank of America with a $10,000 minimum.
Even if you can’t use any ATM you want for free, most banks won’t charge you to use their own machines. If you choose a bank with a large network of ATMs, it’ll be easier to stop at an in-network machine when you need cash.
Some banks join ATM networks, where they partner up with other banks to share ATM machines, greatly increasing how many fee-free machines members have access to. For example, a number of smaller banks and credit unions are part of the SUM network, which gives its members access to thousands of surcharge-free ATMs, even if their financial institution only has machines in a small area. NYCE, PULSE and STAR are other common ATM networks in the US.
Some banks, like USAA, BankFive and Ally, offer checking accounts that will reimburse you up to a certain amount — usually $10 or $15 — for fees you get from out-of-network ATM machines.
Financial institutions have tools on their sites and mobile banking apps to use to find the closest ATM or branch for free withdrawals.
Most major grocery stores, drugstores and gas stations will let you get cash back if you make a purchase. Some stores offer this for free, while others have a surcharge — usually lower than ATM fees.
It costs ATM operators a fraction of the fee they charge consumers to use an ATM — and those fees get higher every year. Every dollar counts, so save your money by getting a fee-free checking account or using in-network ATMs.
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