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Guide to How Much ATMs Charge

By Janet Siroto · August 12, 2023 · 6 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

Guide to How Much ATMs Charge

It’s a common (and frustrating) experience to have to pay a fee when you access your cash at an out-of-network ATM.

Currently, this kind of transaction will cost you $4.66 on average. When you are just trying to get $20 to buy an old book at a flea market or to buy some street food, that can be a lot!

To better understand ATM fees and avoid paying them, read on. You’ll learn typical costs and smart ways to dodge those extra charges and keep more of your hard-earned cash.

Common ATM Fees

Bank account holders typically pay no fees for using in-network ATMs, whether you’re dipping your card or doing a cardless withdrawal. However, these machines may not always be conveniently located.

Indeed, more than half of ATMs today are owned and serviced by independent operators and their affiliates — not banks. If you use an out-of-network ATM, you could end up paying a fee to your bank, as well as a fee to the ATM operator.

So how much are ATM fees? Here are some typical charges for using an ATM:

Non-Network Fee

This fee can be charged by your bank for using a non-branded or non-partner ATM. It’s kind of like going to a doctor that’s not on your insurance plan — you might be able to do it, but it could be more expensive.

On average, this charge accounts for about $1.52 of the total fee, according to Bankrate. The fee can apply to any type of transaction performed at an ATM, including withdrawals, transfers, and even balance inquiries. Typically, you won’t be told about such fees at any time during your ATM transaction.

ATM Surcharge

This one comes from the ATM owner, and is often labeled as a “convenience charge.” The average U.S. surcharge currently runs $3.14. However, surcharges can vary by state and venue, and you may encounter higher amounts in places where ATMs are in greater demand.

If you’re at an entertainment venue or theme park in a popular tourist destination, for instance, you could pay considerably more.

When using an ATM that isn’t part of your bank’s network of machines, the machine usually notifies you about a fee charged by the bank or company that operates the ATM.

Foreign ATM Fees

Traveling overseas can come with even more watch-outs, such as foreign transaction fees on both purchases and ATM withdrawals.

When using an ATM in a foreign country, you can incur a fee of around 1% to 3% of the transaction amount. Some financial institutions, however, have no foreign transaction fees, and can be worth looking at if you frequently travel overseas.

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What Are Average ATM Fees?

As mentioned above, ATM fees can take a bite out of your money. Here are specifics on how much ATMs charge, as of the end of 2022:

•  The average out-of-network fee that a bank charges its customers is $1.52.

•  The average surcharge by the ATM’s owner/operator when you use an out-of-network terminal is $3.14.

•  The total average out-of-network fee is the sum of these two numbers, or $4.66 per transaction.

💡 Quick Tip: Typically, checking accounts don’t earn interest. However, some accounts do, and online banks are more likely than brick-and-mortar banks to offer you the best rates.

5 Tips to Avoid ATM Fees

If having to pay money to access your money grinds your gears, there’s some good news — it is possible to avoid ATM fees or at least encounter them less frequently.

Here are some strategies:

1. Scouting out ATMs in Advance

Finding out where your financial institution’s in-network ATMs are located in your area, or where you are traveling to, can save you money and hassle. These may be ATMs branded with the institution’s name and logo, or in a network of partner ATMs, such as Allpoint or Star. You can research this on your bank’s website or app.

2. Getting Extra Cash When You Use an ATM

Fees are typically charged per transaction, so one way to avoid charges is to withdraw more cash than you need whenever you go to the ATM, and then keep it in a safe place. This can yield significant savings when you are traveling overseas, where surcharges can be significantly higher than domestic ATM fees. You may want to keep in mind, however, that there are usually some ATM withdrawal limits.

3. Asking for Cash Back at the Register

Many retailers and convenience stores offer cash back when you make a purchase using your debit card. This can be a convenient way to get cash without paying an ATM fee. It can be a good idea, however, to make sure that neither the retailer, nor your bank charges a cash-back fee.

4. Switching to a Different Bank

Not all banks charge out-of-network ATM fees. If you’re getting hit with fees, especially double fees, you may want to consider switching to an institution that has a larger ATM network, doesn’t charge ATM fees, and/or refunds ATM fees charged by machine providers.

Online vs. traditional banks often have generous policies regarding ATM fees. They typically don’t have their own ATM networks, but will partner with large networks and may refund some fees charged by out-of-network ATM providers.

5. Using a Peer-to-Peer Payment App

With a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment app, like Venmo, or a similar service offered by your financial institution, you can easily pay your friends without cash with just a few taps on your phone -– and avoid a trip to the ATM entirely. And mobile payment can be safe, instead of carrying cash.

💡 Quick Tip: The myth about online accounts is that it’s hard to access your cash. Not so! When you open the right online checking account, you’ll have ATM access at thousands of locations.

Banking With SoFi

One way to avoid ATM fees is to bank with a financial institution that has a robust network of cash machines, like SoFi.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


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FAQ

How can you avoid ATM fees?

There are a few ways to avoid ATM fees: You could bank at a financial institution with a large network of cash machines; you could use a P2P app; you could get cash back at the register; or you might take out more cash in advance, among other strategies.

Are ATM fees worth it?

Whether ATM fees are worth it will depend on the circumstances. If you need cash badly, you might not mind paying a few dollars. But often, people don’t want to spend money to access their money.

Are ATM fees higher at airports?

ATMs may be more expensive at airports. For instance, not all banks or ATM networks are represented at airports. You may have a hard time finding yours and therefore have to use an out-of-network cash machine. In addition, some popular locations, from airports to theme parks to casinos, have been known to have higher than usual fees.



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SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

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Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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