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5 Ways To Avoid ATM Fees

written by Shelley Marsh 06/08/2014
ATM Fees

Ok, if I was to list my 5 pet peeves it would go something like this:

  1. Dirty glasses (yes I have four eyes and any spec on my glasses drives me crazy)
  2. Dirty car windscreens (I think this might be related to the glasses thing)
  3. Coriander (yes, who knew I could find it so offensive?)
  4. ATM Fees
  5. Scam artists and those who rip others off

Yep, they don’t call me The Money Lady for nothing.  ATM fees rank pretty highly on my list of things that give me the sh*ts!  I really can’t understand why I have to pay to access my own money and particularly why using an ATM which is not my bank’s can cost me anywhere between $2 and $3.50.  A cost that is totally out of line with the actual cost of the electronic transaction to my bank!!!!  Though I can see why the banks like ATM fees, apparently in the year to the end of April Australians paid $627 million in ‘foreign’ ATM fees. (A foreign ATM is any machine not operated by your bank).

The other thing I hate about ATM fees is how they add up without you noticing.  Just one transaction a week at a ‘foreign’ ATM at $2.50 can cost you $130 per year!!!!  So here are some ideas of how you can make sure you never pay ATM fees ever again….

(1)    Know Your Bank Account

Make sure you understand how your bank account works and which ATMs you can access for free.  Some banks only let you use your own bank’s ATMs, other banks may allow you to use some ‘foreign’ ATMS for free but not others.  On my account I can only use my own bank’s ATMs for free, anywhere else and I will be pinged.

(2)    Use an ATM Finder App

If you have a smart phone there are several apps that can tell you where your nearest ATM is.  I use the one issued by my bank.  So before you crack a foreign ATM use an app as, you never know, a free ATM might be just around the corner.

(3)    Withdraw Extra Cash

When you find a fee free ATM withdraw more money than you need so you have some spare cash.  This can work for some people but if you are the type that will spend the lot, then this tip is best avoided!!!

(4)    Use EFTPOS And Get Cash Out

When you are buying something on EFTPOS take out some extra cash.  EFTPOS is free and most retailers are happy to give you the extra cash.  Just ask.

(5)    Use Your Local Supermarket/Retailer as an ATM

This is my favourite strategy and the one I use most at the moment.  Your local Woolies and Coles will give you cash and you don’t even have to buy a thing.  Just rock up to the ciggy counter and they are happy to give you cash from your account.  Or even better, use the self-serve machines.  I have heard the petrol stations aligned with the big retailers will also give you cash out. Just ask.  We have been using our local Woolies as an ATM for quite a while now as there is no ATM for my bank close to where I live or work.  So this strategy has saved us a stack of ATM fees.

The last tip I have is if you are really stuck and have no other choice but to use a ‘foreign’ ATM use one from one of the ‘Big Four’, that is ANZ, Westpac, Commonwealth or National Australia Bank as at the moment they will only charge you $2 for the privilege.  If you use a non bank branded ATM such as Cashcard, CashConnect and Direct Cash ATMs they will charge you more.  So watch out!

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The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice.  Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

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Bmpermie 07/08/2014 at 8:14 am

Useful, thanks. I did not know about the ATM finder app. Will now download.

Mums Take Five 07/08/2014 at 7:53 pm

i didnt know you could do that at the supermarket! i always go buy milk or something. excellent i’ll use that thanks

Cassandra 07/08/2014 at 8:09 pm

Great Article – Also one of my big hates!
I was shocked when I added up my ‘foreign’ ATM charges too. So this is why I love my BankWest Zero Transaction account. All ATM fees refunded from the big 4, if you deposit $2,000 per month. I believe ING do a similar account.

Jody at Six Little Hearts 08/08/2014 at 10:55 am

I use the supermarket ATM too. (ie cigarettes counter.) I am always embarrassed standing there though as I always have kids with me and it makes me look like a smoker – not cool!
I get around ATM fees by shopping almost exclusively online and if I can manage to find a store or coupon with free shipping – it’s a win win!

Seana - Sydney, Kids, Food + Travel 08/08/2014 at 1:48 pm

I didn’t know about the apps either, that’s so handy. I use my supermarket as a cash point too – very helpful. Getting too much cash out is a problem though as it disappears faster than ever.

Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me 08/08/2014 at 8:43 pm

They sure can add up and you know our bank, HSBC, has only just become mates with Westpac so it’s free from those but before that we were charged EVERYWHERE! Yes to cash out!

Lauren @ Create Bake Make 09/08/2014 at 9:03 am

This is one of my pet hates too. I regularly withdraw money from the supermarket, love that I can use the self service checkout too. Great tips 🙂

Nic 11/08/2014 at 11:48 am

I hate ATM fees too! I have only just started using my supermarket to get cash out. I thought you would have to buy something but at the customer service deck they just do it for you, no fees yay! I defiantly need to have more cash on me as I still get caught paying atm fees. Thanks for sharing!

Nic 11/08/2014 at 11:48 am


Grace 11/08/2014 at 4:24 pm

Oh, I love that idea of using self-service machines in the supermarkets! I remember when things started going self-serve and it annoyed the poo out of me! Now there is an even better use for them! Thanks for the awesome tips!

Hope @NannyShecando 16/08/2014 at 9:44 pm

Haha dirty glasses is one of my biggest pet peeves too. Really irks me. Of course working with kids doesn’t really help me much in that department though. Discovering I could withdraw money at woolworths when my own bank AT THE MOMENT wasn’t easily accessible was definitely a good day!

Karen 13/09/2014 at 9:26 am

My favourite means of avoiding ATM fees is McDonald’s! 24 hours, drive thu and costs just 30cents (but I get a free icecream with that lol)

Shelley Marsh 28/09/2014 at 7:00 pm

Awesome idea and I love their icecreams too!!! Apparently you can buy milk at Maccas as well – mind you it is at a premium but still if your desperate it might do the trick! Thanks for stopping by my blog Karen! 🙂


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