How to Help Avoid ATM Fees
Using an out-of-network ATM can impose inconvenient fees that are often avoidable. Learn more about ATM fees and easy tips to help steer clear of them in your daily life.
ATM fees are usually preventable when you choose ATMs owned by your bank or financial institution.
When you use an ATM independently owned or operated by another bank, your bank will often charge an out-of-network fee and the ATM owner will add a surcharge, taking funds out of your account.
Sometimes, using an ATM outside of your bank’s network is unavoidable and many banks offer checking accounts or other products that can reimburse ATM fees.
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What are ATM fees?
Most banks have a wide network of ATMs that you can use to deposit cash, transfer money, pay bills, and complete other basic banking tasks for free. That said, the convenience of a fee-free ATM usually stops outside your bank’s network. If you need an ATM and can only find one independently owned, or affiliated with a different bank, you’ll likely rack up some fees.
- Out-of-network fee: If you use an ATM independently operated or owned by another bank, your own bank may charge you for using this ATM.
- ATM surcharge: This is a charge from the ATM owner. If the ATM is owned by another bank or an independent owner, they’ll likely charge you for using the ATM, and this fee could vary depending on your location. For example, if you’re on vacation in a popular tourist destination, ATM surcharges could increase immensely.
- International transaction fees: Banks will often add a fee when using an ATM outside of the United States—sometimes 1%–3% of the transaction amount. Before traveling overseas, be sure to speak with your bank to understand the international fees you could be subject to and make a plan to help avoid them as best as you can.
How much are ATM fees?
According to a survey conducted by Bankrate†, the average total for out-of-network ATM fees in 2022 were $4.66 per transaction. The out-of-network fee was about $1.52, and the ATM surcharge was $3.14. If you were to use an out-of-network ATM each week in 2022, fees would add up to $242.32 by the end of the year.
Overall, ATM fees can fluctuate year over year and may cost more depending on the area you’re in, but they can still make a dent to your income.
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Types of ATMs that can be used
When choosing an ATM, there are generally three types to be mindful of, as some could be free to use, and others could have fees associated.
- Your bank or financial institution’s ATMs: These ATMs are owned by your bank and can often be found in branches, stores and shopping centers, or high-traffic streets. Usually, you can rely on your bank to offer fee-free use of ATMs in their network.
- Affiliated ATMs: Some smaller banks or online-only financial institutions use a shared web of ATMs. This means that an affiliated ATM isn’t owned by your bank, but there’s likely no fee associated with the ATM if you choose to use it.
- Unaffiliated ATMs: These are ATMs owned by a third party that’s not associated with your bank. For example, a convenience store owner may have an ATM in their shop to earn a passive income, or it belongs to a bank unaffiliated with your own. Either way, this is where you’re likely to encounter out-of-network fees, ATM surcharges, or international fees if you’re outside the country.
Easy ways to help avoid ATM fees
Spending five dollars here and there to access cash may not have a huge impact on your budget, but ATM charges can add up. We know emergencies happen and using an unaffiliated ATM may be the right choice for the situation, but most of the time, ATM fees can be avoidable. Keep these tips in mind as you plan vacations or use them day-to-day:
- Find an ATM in your bank’s network: When you live within your bank’s footprint, chances are, there’s an ATM nearby. You can try a quick search online or use your bank’s online resources to find the best ATM for your current location. At Huntington, we have over a thousand ATMs across our footprint that can be found online or with our mobile app.
- Choose a bank that reimburses ATM fees: Some banks offer checking accounts that refund ATM fees, meaning you won’t be penalized when the occasional emergency arises, and you use an out-of-network ATM. We offer two checking accounts that offer ATM reimbursement. Huntington Perks Checking℠ waives five non-Huntington ATM cash withdrawal fees and reimburses you for fees charged by another ATM owner, and Huntington Platinum Perks Checking℠ offers unlimited free ATM withdrawals from non-Huntington ATMs‡.
- Get cash back in-store: If you’re in a pinch for cash and don’t have an affiliated ATM nearby, try getting cash back at the checkout of a grocery store or other large store. When you pay with debit, many stores automatically offer cash back without a fee.
- See if cards or digital payments are accepted ahead of time: Trying a new restaurant, headed to your local farmer’s market, or planning an upcoming trip? Call the businesses ahead or look online to confirm the payment methods accepted. That way, you can arrive prepared with cash, your cards, or digital wallet.
- Use a peer-to-peer payment app: Cash is convenient when you’re splitting a bill at a restaurant or looking to send money to family or friends, but peer-to-peer payments offer a secure, cashless way to send funds. Using apps like Zelle, Venmo, or Cash App, you can send money to people you trust directly through your phone.
†Bankrate. August 31, 2022. “Survey: ATM fees hit record high while overdraft and NSF fees fell sharply” Accessed August 22, 2023. https://www.bankrate.com/banking/checking/checking-account-survey/
‡With Huntington Platinum Perks Checking we'll waive all & with Huntington Perks Checking your first 5 non-Huntington ATM cash withdrawal fees per statement cycle at any ATM worldwide. We'll also reimburse you for withdrawal fees on the same transactions charged by the owner of a non-Huntington ATM. You will be responsible for any additional fees charged by the owner of a non-Huntington ATM as well as any international transaction or other fees charged by the network.
Huntington Perks Checking℠ and Huntington Platinum Perks Checking℠ are service marks of Huntington Bancshares Incorporated.
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