I stopped paying fees to use an ATM about a year and a half ago when I moved my checking and savings from Bank of America to Charles Schwab. No matter where I am, how often I do it, or how much money I withdraw, Schwab reimburses me for any fees I incur from using other bank’s ATM machines. That’s a lot different than how much I used to get charged by BofA anytime I wanted money from any other ATM machine but one of theirs! But now with internet and local banking becoming even more popular, there is absolutely no reason that you need to stay with a bank that wants to charge you a small fortune to access your own money. Here are eight of the more popular banks offering checking accounts with no ATM fees, no matter where you use your ATM card.
I seriously cannot say enough about Schwab’s checking account. It costs nothing to open an account, there are no minimum balances, I don’t pay a dime for checks or deposit-by-mail envelopes, and I can now deposit checks using my iPhone camera. All that in addition to the fact that they reimburse any ATM fees I am charged, anywhere in the world.
Although it started out as General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC) to finance automotive customers, Ally Bank certainly has some great features as a checking account provider. There is no charge to open an account and there are no minimum balance requirements, they pay 0.50% APY interest on balances below $15,000, and they don’t charge their users ATM fees and reimburse fees that any other bank charges for ATM access.
State Farm Checking
And you thought they were just an insurance company, didn’t you? Well, State Farm also offers a checking account that competes with any other company. Although opening an account requires a deposit of $100, there are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements after doing so. Your first order of checks is free, and they too offer unlimited ATM fee reimbursements — as long as you sign up for direct deposit.
Bank of Internet
The Bank of Internet is just that; a bank that is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Rewards checking results in an up to 1.25% APY, deposits are possible from the comfort of home, and there are free unlimited ATM fee reimbursements. I had never really heard of the Bank of Internet, but it’s definitely on my radar now.
You can deposit checks from home with a scanner or your iPhone. You can deposit them in your neighborhood at participating UPS Stores. Account holders get free checks and pay no fees or have any minimums. On top of all that, USAA does not charge you to use your ATM card and will refund up to $15 in other banks’ ATM charges.
ING Direct Checking
I still have several savings accounts at ING Direct, but for those looking for a new place to do their checking they should take a look as well. They pay a 0.25% APY interest on checking balances up to $49,999 and offer free online bill pay with free postage/mailing of paper checks, all while giving account holders free access to their money at over 35,000 ATM machines.
With a minimum opening balance of only $1,500, free bill pay, and the ability to make deposits from home using your scanner, EverBank has some good features in addition to their unlimited ATM fee reimbursement program. The only problem I see with it is that in order to qualify for those reimbursements, you have to keep a $5,000 daily balance in your account. That’s a little outside my comfort level to get something that other banks offer with no conditions, but nonetheless ATM fees are reimbursed at that level.
So there they are — 8 banks you may not be too familiar with but should be if you are still being charged ATM fees by your bank. They all offer slightly different features that may or may not pertain to your situation, but I still favor Schwab over the rest. A few things to keep in mind when searching for and choosing a new bank to go with:
- Don’t fall for any marketing from a bank that says “No ATM Fees” but actually only means they don’t charge you for using one of their machines. You want free ATM use at any ATM, anywhere.
- Some banks only reimburse you up to a certain amount each month while others will reimburse any and all ATM fees with no limit. If you rack up a lot of fees every month, it’s better to go with a bank that offers unlimited refunds.
Getting charged a fee by your own bank as well as the owner of the only ATM you found within 10 miles of you can be frustrating. Paying upwards of $5 to access your own money while away from home is a thing of the past, though, if you make the switch from your current bank to one that reimburses you for any fees you are charged. Of course, you could always opt for cash back at your local grocery store or retailer. But sometimes you just want to access $20 without having to buy a pack of gum at CVS, am I right?
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