How To Avoid ATM Fees

Co-author: TJ Ryan
Our use of ATMs for cash withdrawals is on the decline – but we still make more than 28 million cash withdrawals each month.

Australians are still using ATMs

According to the most recent figures from the Reserve Bank (RBA), Australians are making fewer ATM cash withdrawals than ever before and withdrawing less cash per transaction.

In January 2017, consumers made 28.9 million ATM cash withdrawals – compared to 32.2 million withdrawals in January 2016. As for how much cash we withdraw, in January 2017 Aussies withdrew $6.7 billion  in cash from ATMs, compared to $7.1 billion  in January 2016.

But it’s still important to know how to avoid ATM fees because until we become a cashless society, well, when you need cash, you need cash! Many consumers make a number of withdrawals at ATMs outside their own bank’s network – which can attract hefty fees.

Accounts that offer rebates on ATM fees

Fortunately, there are at least 3 institutions that offer ATM fee rebates for their customers on all ATMs in Australia:

  1. ING DIRECT
  2. ME Bank
  3. Macquarie Bank

ING reimburses ATM fees instantly, while ME Bank and Macquarie Bank reimburse ATM fees at the end of each month.

With the Macquarie Bank transaction account, another interesting feature is that the customer is rewarded with $0.50 cashback when they withdraw $100 or more cash out at retail stores.

These three accounts also charge no account-keeping fees or fees on typical transactions, such as online transfers, eftpos purchases, direct debits, BPAY payments, and the like.

Compare Transaction Accounts

CANSTAR’s research pinpoints the following institutions and products that offer this service:

Accounts that offer rebates on all ATM fees
(includes ATM transactions outside of their own network and agreements)
Institution Product Name Conditions
Bankwest Easy Transaction Account Major Bank’s ATMs only*
BankVic Anywhere* $1,000 minimum monthly deposit
ING Direct Orange Everyday* $1,000 minimum monthly deposit
Macquarie Bank Macquarie Transaction Account
Macquarie Bank Macquarie Platinum Transction Account
ME Bank Everyday Transaction Account
Source: www.canstar.com.au as at 1 March 2017.
*$0 ATM fee applicable at Bankwest, CBA, NAB, ANZ, Westpac, St George Bank, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA ATMs Australia wide.

Compare Transaction Accounts

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How to avoid ATM fees

There are plenty of ways to avoid ATM fees, such as:

  1. Use your own network’s ATM. Yes, duh! It could be easier than you think, though. As an example, all Westpac-owned institutions – which includes Bank of Melbourne, Bank SA and St George – can use Westpac network ATMs for free. So if you’re with a “smaller” financial institution, check who really owns them. There may be a large free ATM network available.
  2. Get cash out elsewhere. Next time you’re at the supermarket, or buying something from, for example, Target, get some cash out. Just in case!
  3. Choose a transaction account that has wide (and free) ATM access. Some financial institutions offer transactions accounts that won’t sting you for using another bank’s ATM.

Source: canstar, August 2012

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Savings & Transaction Accounts Star Ratings Report - CANSTAR

Fee rebates popular with customers

Based on the search behaviour of more than 12,000 people that have used CANSTAR’s transaction account selector tables from March 2016 to March 2017, finding an account that rebates transaction fees is popular.

Nearly 15% of visitors specifically searched for a product with this feature.

Overall, the most popular transaction account features that visitors look for are (CANSTAR, 2017):

  1. ATM facility: 25%
  2. EFTPOS facility: 17.5%
  3. Rebate on fees: 14.5%
  4. Branch access: 10.8%
  5. Interest calculated daily: 10.1%
  6. Online application available: 8.4%

Compare Transaction Accounts

Canstar is an information provider and in giving you product information Canstar is not making any suggestion or recommendation about a particular product. If you decide to apply for a transaction account, you will deal directly with a financial institution, and not with Canstar. Rates and product information should be confirmed with the relevant financial institution. For more information, read our detailed disclosure, important notes and liability disclaimer.

To the extent that any CANSTAR data, ratings or commentary constitutes general advice, this advice has been prepared by CANSTAR Research Pty Ltd ABN 29 114 422 909 AFSL and ACL 437917(“CANSTAR”) and does not take into account your individual investment objectives, financial circumstances or needs. Information provided on and available in this document does not constitute financial, taxation or other professional advice and should not be relied upon as such. CANSTAR recommends that, before you make any financial decision, you seek professional advice from a suitably qualified adviser. See CANSTAR’s Financial Services Guide and Credit Guide at http://www.canstar.com.au/canstar-research-fsg/

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