Incurring lots of ATM fees is one of the biggest wastes of money that you can fall victim to. Banks depend on a lack of planning and convenience to charge these fees. The amount you pay to take money out of an ATM that doesn’t belong to your bank is also increased, because you’re also paying the company that owns the ATM a fee as well. In many cases, if you take out $20 and you pay $5 in fees, you’re actually only getting 75 percent of what you have. When you start to add up how many times this happens, as well, you realize how much money is being wasted. However, this can all be prevented with a little planning that isn’t hard to do. Once you’re savvy about ATM fees, you’ll start saving a lot of money you didn’t even know was slowly being drained out of your bank account. Here are four deadly sins of ATM fees and how to avoid them.
Know Where Your Bank Is Located
This is a simple tactic, yet very few people make it a priority. If you’re going out on the town, make sure you know where your bank is. Chances are if you’re a customer of a major bank, it has branches all over the place. It’s as simple as looking up the locations on your mobile device and remembering which one is in closest proximity to where you’ll be spending time. This also goes for situations where you’re out and about in a place you’re not familiar with. It’s worth the little extra time it takes to walk to your bank’s ATM to save money, rather than relying on the convenience of an off-brand ATM you find in convenience stores.
Take out Larger Amounts of Cash
The smaller the amount of money you take out of the ATM, the higher the fees are going to be. Each time you return to an off-brand ATM, you’re incurring that same fee over and over again. In essence, eventually you might as well have simply put the money you took out back into the ATM because the fees add up to more than your withdrawal. The solution to this is if you have to use an ATM that doesn’t belong to your bank, try to take out a larger amount of cash. this way, you save yourself those extra fees.
Utilizing Cash Back Opportunities
The only other way to avoid ATM fees when you’re not close to your bank is to use the cash back option. This is a great solution when you’re near a drug store or grocery store that offers this option. Cash back costs you nothing, but there might also be a limit depending on which store you’re at. If you need cash back, you do have to buy something. Just make it a cheap item you need, like a pack of gum, and the cashier will still be obliged to offer the cash back option. If you can’t get to an ATM owned by your bank, this is the next best option. You’re still avoiding the fees, and you get the added benefit of convenience.
Analyzing Your Bank Statement
If you really need a wake-up call to understand exactly how much you’re wasting in ATM fees each month, take a look at your bank statement. An even better tactic is looking at your activity online and sorting by those types of fees. Seeing every instance that you paid those ATM fees on top of what the off-brand ATM company already charged you can be a shocking experience. These types of fees add up to huge amounts over time, and can actually equate to thousands of wasted dollars over a year’s time. If you’re always out and about and you frequently use off-brand ATMs, try to cease this habit as quickly as possible. Make it a priority, and you’ll be shocked at how much money you’ll save.