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I'm in the USA right now and would like to get some more cash with my non-US ATM card. However, a random sampling of ATMs at large banks (Wells Fargo, Citibank) has shown ATM fees in the $5-6 range, which is kind of ridiculous.

Which major US banks have the lowest ATM fees for foreign cards?

I've seen this, which suggests credit unions and but not major banks (not so useful at eg. large airports). Also, this crops up high on Google, but the costs don't match what I'm seeing. Extra points if you can explain which of "Non-network ATM Fee" and "ATM Operator Fee" apply in this situation.

For avoidance of doubt, I'm asking specifically about the ATM fee charged by the US bank here, not network fees, my bank's fees, exchange rates etc.

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    A "Non-network ATM Fee" is the fee that bank charges its own customers when they use ATMs run by other operators (it's not too hard for Americans to find a bank that doesn't charge one of these, if they know where to look). An "ATM Operator Fee" is what whoever owns the ATM charges non-customers to use the ATM (some US banks will refund this fee in certain cases). As a visitor with a non-US account, you'd be paying "ATM Operator Fees," plus any charge your home bank might apply. – Zach Lipton Aug 14 '17 at 3:09
  • The fees are even higher by about 10% in Thailand! Some ATMs in some airports in some countries have higher fees or worse exchange rates. Use an ATM in the city instead when possible. – hippietrail Aug 14 '17 at 3:50
  • Do you specifically need to use an ATM? There are other options for getting cash. And what bank are you using? – Acccumulation Jan 23 '18 at 23:35
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Most states do not allow ATMs to charge foreign cards a fee. California, where I live, is an exception, and the Citibank ATM has a list of states where the fee will be imposed. Either you are here or in one of the other such states.

Many 7-11s have an ATM with $2 or less fee. You might also see if your home bank has any sort of reciprocity arrangement.

  • I was in California and New York, both of which apparently do allow charging fees. – jpatokal Jul 26 '18 at 1:59
  • 7-11 in SF is 3$ – Oren Apr 19 at 18:02
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I'm still looking for a more comprehensive answer, but I ended up withdrawing cash from a Chase ATM, which charged me a $3 fee.

  • Union Bank also wanted 3$. Still searching.. we should make a Google chart list – Oren Apr 19 at 17:57
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Unfortunately this depends on a combination of things. There 3-4 types of fees: You pay the owner of the ATM for using their services, you pay the issuer of your card for their services, you may also pay a foreign currency exchange or handling fee. There may also be some other middle-man (Visa, MC, etc.) involved.

Things tend to be the cheapest, if you use an ATM owner that has a partner agreement with the bank that issued the card that you are using. Bank of America, for example, partner with China Construction Bank in China, so when using a BoA card at CCB ATM, you may little or no fees.

So the short answer is: ask your Bank and make sure they tell you about any hidden and add-on fees as well.

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    I'm asking specifically about the first item on your list, "paying the owner of the ATM for using their services". – jpatokal Aug 14 '17 at 17:58
  • @jpatokal: this will depend on what card you are using. It's not the same fee for all customers. – Hilmar Aug 15 '17 at 19:50
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    This is for foreign cardholders who will not have any relationship/discounts with the bank. – jpatokal Aug 15 '17 at 21:33
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I think what you're actually want is to get money from foreign bank card without paying a fee, right?

I had the same problem - wanted to withdraw money from my foreign card in the US. At first I also thought that ATM is the only option, but there's a way to do this for free, of course if your card's bank does not charge some weird fees.

You just need to ask bank teller (a person) in any major bank office that you want to withdraw from your foreign bank card and get cash (or top up your US bank account). They will need your id for this. That's it.

Presumably, they may ask you to use ATM if amount is too small.

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I have tried using my British (Nationwide BS) UK Debit card for cash withdrawal from ATMs located in Delaware. Target ATM charged me $6 for withdrawing $400, while WAWA/PNC was free (no charges) to withdraw $500 from my UK bank account. So there are some free ATMs specially ATMs located inside gas stations such as WAWA and probably some Exxons are way better than Target/supermarkets or any other banks in USA.

  • Wawa and some other chains have ATMs in the Allpoint network. I'm guessing that either your card qualified for reciprocity, or they don't (yet) charge ex-US cards. – Andrew Lazarus Apr 19 at 22:10
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Your list is a couple of years out of date, but as you can see the big banks tend to charge fees that are about the same. You could try searching ATM fees for those on the list with lowest costs back then to see if any are cheaper than the $5 to $6 now being charged.

You can check with your bank to see if they have any corresponding US banks with free ATM privileges.

Otherwise you just have to bite the bullet and absorb the fee. Perhaps taking out the maximum allowed so as to maximize cash versus fee.

But one has to ask, why are $5 ATM fees ridiculous? Some countries, like Thailand now charge closer to US$7 for using a foreign card in an ATM. Someone has to pay for the services you are getting, someone has to buy and repair the ATM, someone has to hire security guards to go stock the ATM, someone has to pay Visa, MasterCard etc for the network the machine uses.

  • In China the fee is 0 at all banks. 5 USD is bad. 220 THB is actually ridiculous. Someone has to pay but also some banks are greedy. The former does not rule out the latter. Costs are higher in the US than China. Corruption is worse in Thailand than China. – hippietrail Aug 14 '17 at 3:54
  • @Tom I'm already paying my bank its pound of flesh and the network takes another cut from the exchange rate, this is kind of adding insult to injury. – jpatokal Aug 14 '17 at 4:02
  • @jpatokal - Your bank isn't paying the US bank to provide you with the service, they aren't covering the actual costs of maintaining that ATM you are using, so realistically it is your bank that is charging the "ridiculous fee". The bank providing the ATM deserves compensation for services provided, your bank does not. – user13044 Aug 14 '17 at 4:11
  • @Tom But the US banks make money when someone uses their cards overseas, so it more or less balances out. Also, $2-3 I can understand, but I refuse to believe the bank's actual cost of loading cash once a day so I can press a couple of buttons is $6...! ATMs already pay for themselves because they're much cheaper than human tellers. – jpatokal Aug 14 '17 at 4:39
  • @jpatokal- Of my two US debit cards, the one I use overseas does not charge me for international ATM usage, I pay only the local bank's fee. That is fair and does not balance out your usage. Why should I as a customer of a US bank subsidize your free use of an ATM at that bank, your bank will likely charge me to use their ATM. – user13044 Aug 14 '17 at 4:48

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