If you’re using an overseas ATM, you can be charged an out-of-network ATM fee by your bank, a currency exchange fee by your bank and an ATM fee by the machine’s operator. But there are steps you can take to cut down on ATM costs when traveling.
What ATM fees apply?
If you’re using an ATM that belongs to your bank, you generally won’t have to pay anything. But if you use an out-of-network ATM, you could have to pay both the ATM’s convenience fee and your bank’s fee.
Foreign ATM fees range from around $3.0 to $5.00 on average, but can sometimes be much higher in casinos and bars. Bank fees for using an out-of-network ATM are set by each individual bank.
Foreign ATM fees
Most banks charge additional fees if you use an out-of-network overseas ATM to withdraw foreign currency. You may even be charged for both the ATM and the currency exchange. As of July 2020, the fees set by the biggest traditional banks in Canada are:
- TD Bank. $3.00 in the US or Mexico or $5.00 anywhere else (unless you have a TD All-Inclusive Banking Plan or TD Wealth Private Banking Account then the service fee is waived) plus 3.5% of the transaction
- Bank of Montreal. $5.00
- Scotiabank. $3.00 in the US and $5.00 everywhere else
- CIBC. $3.00 in the U.S. and $5.00 everywhere else plus a 2.5% administration fee
- RBC. $3.00 in the U.S. and $5.00 everywhere else
Compare foreign ATM fees on top chequing accounts
How do I avoid ATM fees?
To avoid racking up fees:
- Withdraw less frequently. Instead of withdrawing $20 or $40 several times a week, withdraw $100 or $200 at once less often.
- Stay in your bank’s network. Whenever possible, try to use an ATM owned by your bank or owned by a company with which your bank has a partnership.
- Use ATM locators. Most banks have tools on their websites and mobile apps to help you find your nearest ATM. Put these tools to use if you ever need to find your nearest fee-free place to withdraw cash.
- Get cash back at checkout. If you use your debit card in a store, you may be able to get cash back at the checkout without paying any fees.
- Fee-free accounts. Some chequing accounts reimburse you for ATM fees or let you withdraw a certain number of times without paying any fees. Ask your bank about their fee-free offerings.
- Pay with card instead of cash. The amount of times you actually have to use cash to pay for your purchases is actually quite small, so consider paying with your card instead of cash wherever possible.
- Remember that you’re not just charged for withdrawals. As well as a fee for withdrawing cash, many banks will charge a fee if you use one of their ATMs to check your account balance. You can perform the same task for free online or on your bank’s mobile app, so don’t use an ATM to check your balance unless you’re fully aware of any fees that may apply.
ATM fees can start to add up quickly — especially if you’re traveling overseas. Keep track of your ATM spending, take steps to reduce what you pay in fees and compare chequing accounts to find one with ATM fees you can live with.
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