How to Avoid ATM Fees

As a followup to an earlier post about ATM fees, I’ve found that it does pay to ask. Perhaps you can find out this information if you read all the fine print when opening an account and applying for a debit card. However, I suspect that banks don’t make it a point to volunteer details which may cost them money.

Our bank has two levels of checking accounts which save you money on ATM fees. There are some basic requirements which you must meet to get this benefit. The easiest one for most people is to have a direct deposit of $2000 or more during every statement period. Another option is to maintain an average monthly balance of $1500. For this, the fees are waived at non-network banks. In addition, you are reimbursed for the fees the other bank charges you to withdraw money. There are also other rewards such as a discount on a safe deposit box and free stop payments.

The higher level checking account requires a $5000 average monthly balance in all of your checking accounts, or a $25000 average monthly balance in all of your accounts. For this, you get free wire transfers in the US along with other benefits.

In order to qualify for these savings, you need to go into your bank and sign up for a particular account. Note that you are assessed a fee every month that you don’t meet the requirements. For the lower level checking account, this fee is $10 and for the higher, it is $25. This would certainly negate any ATM fee savings, so consider carefully before signing up.