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FDIC Consumer News - Spring 1998
Fees Dont Have to be Automatic
Here are a few ways to minimize charges at the teller machine
Studies indicate that ATM access fees or surcharges are becoming more
|common and more
expensive for consumers who use teller machines that arent owned by their bank. The
fees typically run $1.50 per transaction although you can pay upwards of $3 or more
and theyre automatically deducted from your account. Banking institutions
mostly charge these fees to non-customers to offset the costs of owning and running the
machines. These fees can add up, especially for frequent users of ATMs. What can you to do
minimize ATM fees?
Use your own institutions ATMs whenever possible. Nearly all banks offer unlimited free transactions for their own customers.
If you use ATMs owned by institutions other than your own, try to use those that dont charge a fee to non-customers. How will you know which ones wont charge a fee?
You should see a sign at the ATM disclosing whether surcharges are imposed on non-customers, and youll have the opportunity to opt out of a transaction at no charge.If you have time to do some research before going to the ATM, call your bank and ask for names of other institutions that won't charge you a fee. Or, you can look on the Internet for lists of surcharge-free ATMs. One such Internet service we know of is from Bank Rate Monitor www.bankrate.com.
Consider withdrawing larger sums each time ($100 or $200 instead of $20 or $40) so youll make fewer trips to the ATM and save on the transaction fees.
If your bank is one of the few that charges its own customers for ATM use, try to conduct your business inside with a human teller whenever possible. Remember, though, that a few banks charge a teller fee, too.
Consider paying for purchases with personal checks, travelers checks, debit cards (which deduct automatically from your account) and credit cards. Many grocery stores now also let you get cash back when you pay by check or debit card. Remember, though, that these other options may carry their own fees, such as interest charges on credit card balances if you dont pay at the end of the month.
If you plan to use machines a lot, find out if your bank or other institutions offer special accounts or features for ATM users. Fees can vary, so shop around.
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