ATMs are a way of life. You use them to get cash on the run, to transfer funds and to make deposits. Most people can’t imagine life without an ATM on every corner. Yet many people still pay ATM fees — that annoying dollar or two that’s slapped on to your withdrawal by your bank or the bank that owns the ATM.
Fortunately, some banks and credit unions offer accounts that include a debit card that gives you unlimited access to no-fee ATMs. Some will even reimburse you for the fees that the ATM you use charges. Here are 10 banks, credit unions and financial services providers that offer debit cards with surcharge-free ATMs.
Alliant Credit Union
Credit unions are a good option for the fee-conscious since they tend to have lower costs than banks across the board. Credit unions are owned by their members, so they don’t have to worry about returns to stockholders, as banks do. Alliant customers can use over 80,000 ATMs with no fees, but if you can’t find one, they’ll also reimburse ATM fees up to $20 per month with any checking account.
Aspiration has a simple philosophy on ATM fees: “Every ATM on Earth is free or we’ll reimburse your fee.” The fine print says that your account will be reimbursed automatically (within two business days) when you use your Aspiration debit card at an ATM that displays the Mastercard, Interlink, Cirrus or Maestro logo.
Axos offers unlimited ATM reimbursements in the U.S. on its Rewards, Essential and CashBack Checking accounts. First Checking for ages 13-17 and Golden Checking for ages 55 and up offer up to $12 and $8 in fee reimbursement per month, respectively.
If you have a Charles Schwab brokerage account — or are willing to open one — you can also get a checking account from Charles Schwab Bank. The Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account offers unlimited ATM rebates at any ATM that accepts Visa debit cards.
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Citibank ATM cards can be used at over 60,000 ATMs with no fee. In addition to ATMs at Citibank branches and Citibank ATMs at retail locations, customers with a Citibank checking account can use their debit card at any ATM on the MoneyPass network.
Fidelity is not a bank, but they offer the Fidelity Cash Management Account, which works like a traditional checking account including the debit card. Fidelity doesn’t charge an ATM fee at over 1 million ATMs worldwide, including those on the Visa, Star and Plus networks. You’ll also get reimbursed the same day for fees charged by other institutions.
First Republic Bank
This private wealth bank offers an ATM Rebate Checking account, which reimburses all ATM fees, both foreign and domestic. However, this account has a monthly fee of $25 if a $3,500 minimum average balance is not maintained.
The Visa debit card from IncredibleBank lets you get cash with no fees at any MoneyPass ATM. You will also be reimbursed automatically for any domestic ATM fees. You can get this debit card with a Free Incredible Checking Account from IncredibleBank. IncredibleBank is an online bank and a division of River Valley Bank.
Radius Bank offers several checking accounts with no ATM fees. With these accounts, Radius will also rebate the fees you are charged by other banks. The rebate comes at the end of the statement cycle.
The Airline Rewards Checking account from UFB Direct reimburses all domestic ATM fees by the end of the next business day. UFB has no branches or ATMs of its own, so all ATM fees have to be reimbursed. Savings and money market accounts at UFB do not offer ATM reimbursement.
Finding Your ATM Network
If your bank or credit union promotes the large number of ATMs you can use for free, it’s likely they are part of an ATM network. Check your debit card to see which surcharge-free network your card is part of. Then check the ATM you’re using to make sure it has the logo of your network. Many ATMs will be part of more than one network.
Some of the major ATM networks include:
- Star ATM
- Alliance One
If your debit card includes a logo from one of these networks, you can go to the network’s website and look for the ATM finder to find the location of the nearest no-fee ATM machine.
A Note About Foreign Transactions
For foreign transactions, Mastercard and Visa charge a 1 percent foreign transaction fee, which is generally not reimbursed by your bank or credit union. So even if you have a debit card from one of those institutions that offer fee-free foreign transactions, you’ll still get hit with that 1 percent fee from the card issuer.
Other Ways to Avoid ATM Fees
We’ve all been there — you’re standing at a busy intersection, and there’s a bank with an ATM on every corner. The problem is, none of them are your bank or even in your ATM network. You really don’t want to pay that pesky fee, but what can you do?
A few things, actually. You can pull out your phone and check the ATM locator on your bank’s mobile app to see where the nearest ATM is that you can use for free. It might be just a few steps away. Or, your bank’s network may have a nearby no-surcharge ATM, so check the network’s website too. You could also go to a local merchant that offers cash back when you use your debit card for purchases. Most supermarkets do this, as well as some other high-volume stores like pharmacies. Just don’t buy something you don’t need just to get the free cash back — the ATM fee, annoying as it is, could be cheaper. You can also use Apple Pay or another digital form of payment that has no fee.
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