No More ATM Fees

Sometimes it is inevitable – you need to pick up some cash from an ATM machine and there isn't any way to do it without paying a fee.  Once in a while is understandable, every week isn't.  There are some easy ways to eliminate ATM fees from your life.

  1. Choose a bank that rebates some ATM fees.  For example, USAA's Four Star Checking does not charge for the first 10 ATM withdrawals each month, at any ATM, and will rebate up to $15 per month of other banks' ATM fees.  Navy Federal's Active Duty checking will rebate up to $20 in ATM charges each month.  (It's open to all military branches.)  Also, learn what networks your bank is affiliated with and use stick to those ATM machines.  It might not be free, but it should be less expensive.  For example, Navy Federal transactions can be made at 7-11 ATMs without incurring fees.
  2. Plan ahead – it will save you ATM fees and it will probably limit your spending, too.  Look at your spending plan to figure out how much cash you will need for a period of time, maybe a week or a pay period.  Make one cash withdrawal and use it carefully.
  3. Use your debit card instead of cash to make purchases.
  4. Get cash without using an ATM.  You can cash a check at the AAFES or NEX, you can walk into the bank and make a withdrawal from the teller (but check because some banks might charge for this service,) or you can take cash out with a purchase that you're making anyway.

If you are paying ATM fees more than once or twice a year, look at your behavior and your bank accounts to see how you can stop paying ATM fees.  I'm sure there are other great checking accounts that can help you avoid ATM fees – leave your experiences in the comments.  There's no reason to give your bank so much of your hard earned money!

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Another way to get cash without paying ATM fees is to use a debit card at a store and get cash back at the register. I did this once or twice several years ago when I was still using debit cards and cash.
    Though nowadays, I use my credit card for everything and occasionally put a $20 in my wallet to use over a period of 6 months or so for small things like library fines.

  • Hi,
    The new ATM fee regime may have unintended consequences: even if your ATM network is free to your customers and you don’t charge a foreign ATM fee , if they use a foreign ATM they will incur a fee to the owner of that ATM. If you don’t have an alternative ATM near your customers will they move to a more convenient fee-free network?
    atm machines