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Still Pay an ATM Fee When Taking YOUR Money from Your Checking Account?

I’m on the road for a short consulting project. Yesterday morning I picked up the local newspaper that was slipped under my hotel room door while deciding what to have for breakfast and read about potential $10 in combined ATM fees that are about to hit bank consumers.

I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I guess I haven’t visited an ATM lately, and don’t remember visiting one that did not belong to my bank in years. I do remember paying ATM fees back in college when we took road trips and needed cash on the go.

These fees were typically $2 to $4 per withdrawal charged by the local ATM machine. In addition my bank used to charge another $2 per transaction. So going from a combined maximum fee of $6 to $10 in just a few years is equivalent to an inflation in ATM rates of 67%.  I don’t recall anything else inflating, appreciating or depreciating by this amount do you?

I guess instead of being grateful for us bailing them out, the big banks have decided they can squeeze more out of us instead. What a brilliant rationale that is.  Let me get this straight. You want to charge me $10 for access to my own cash? Are you stupid?

Apparently this is not it.  New checking account charges are being planned out as I write this and new fees are going to show up on your statement.  It’s just a matter of time but they are all coming!

The big banks will continue to get away with murder so as long as customers put up with it. The sad thing is that many customers do put up with it, valuing their convenience over their wallets. I have made mass switches in the past and as complicated as my baking relationships are, I don’t think the process has ever been bad enough for me to just sit and take the abuse.

Alternatives to High ATM Fee and Bank Charges

There are a handful of alternatives to paying a high ATM fee and bank charges.  The first that comes to mind is to not visit any ATM that is not owned by your bank, and ensure you meet the minimum standards so that you don’t get slapped with unnecessary fees and charges.  This is not necessarily the easiest option depending on one’s personal and financial situation.

The second is to bank with a credit union, an online bank or an account tied to a stock broker that will reimburse you for an ATM fee whenever you incur one. Most online banks do.  Charles Schwab provides unlimited ATM withdrawals, just the way it should be. Other banks like USAA (military affiliates only) reimburse up to 4 ATM withdrawals monthly.

We all work hard for our money, so why are we ok letting someone take it away from us just like that? Since the government will not do anything about this, the only way to reform current predatory practices in my opinion is to send a message to big banks about how the consumer market really feels. How do you do that? Abandon them and bank with someone who puts your best interest at the forefront. Why not?

What’s the largest ATM fee you have ever paid? Have you or are you being constantly victimized by high ATM fees and other kinds of bank charges?  How do you feel about that? What have you done / or going to do to stop the green bleeding?

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16 Responses to “Still Pay an ATM Fee When Taking YOUR Money from Your Checking Account?”

  1. krantcents says:

    I do not use a debit card, but I use my ATM every week. I refuse to pay fees for anything. Generally I can find a reason to get out of them. If I can not, I would probably find an alternative or switch banks.

    • Sunil says:

      More power to you – that’s the only way these guys are going to learn their lesson. I recently also read that Wells I believe is testing monthly debit card fees in some markets. Unbelievable…

  2. Andy Hough says:

    I used my bank’s ATM card at another location for the first time last week and was surprised that they charged me $3 on top of the ATM fees. I won’t be making that mistake again.

    You don’t have to be in the military to have an USAA checking account. My wife has one and she has never been in the military.

    • Sunil says:

      Andy – how did your wife manage to do that? You sure don’t have to be in the military, but you must have someone in your family who has served. Otherwise, I’d definitely like to know how your wife managed to enroll?

  3. No way would I pay ATM fees! Paying to take out MY money?! Ridiculous. Thankfully, at the beginning of the month I withdraw enough cash to cover ad hoc spends. What an outrageous charge.

    • Sunil says:

      But why even have to withdraw enough money? Why just not worry about it and take your money when you want from wherever you want? There is a better way of banking!

  4. Credit Unions rock! They are so easy to bank with and no extra fees of any sort, at least not yet.

    What Wells Fargo is doing is ridiculous. If one bank starts this debit card fees, all the other banks will definitely follow suit.

  5. Geez, I can’t remember the last time I used an ATM. Even though we have USAA, we go to our local bank once or twice a month and withdraw the cash we will need for the month. I think the higher fees are ridiculous but I don’t think it would affect us much at all.

  6. I avoid any type of bank fees 🙂 No “bleeding” here.

  7. I had an experience with a Valero Gas Station charging a $1 fee when I used my debit card to pay for gas. There was no notice posted on the pump so I asked the attendant about it. Their reply was they do not charge a fee for either credit or debit transactions. Haven’t called corporate about it yet but plan too.

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