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.