Know exactly what you’ll pay when using your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM.
While ATMs are convenient, they can also be an expensive way to access cash. When you use a credit card to make an ATM withdrawal, you’re generally charged a high cash advance fee and interest rate. Plus, you could also be charged withdrawal fees from your bank and the local ATM operator depending on where you withdraw your funds. In March 2016, one in seven credit card holders took cash from their credit accounts, according to RBA data analysed by finder.com.au. Tallying 2.3 million transactions, this was a level that Australians hadn’t seen since November 2010.
Given that credit card cash advances are rising in popularity, it’s important to understand what ATM fees and charges will apply when you use your plastic at an ATM. Use this guide to compare the different charges and to understand how you can avoid them.
What will you pay when withdrawing funds from an ATM?
Australian bank ATM fees and charges, partnerships and alliances
Some banks, credit unions and mutual banks have ATM network partners that allow you to withdraw funds from an ATM without incurring a fee. However, if you don’t belong one of these ATM alliances and withdraw funds from an ATM that isn’t with your bank, you might end up with extra charges alongside the cash advance fees that apply when you use a credit card for this type of transaction.
|Institution||ATM partners||Withdrawal fee for non-customers (when applicable)||Balance check fee (when applicable)|
|Bank of Melbourne||$2||$2|
|Bank of Queensland||$2||$2|
|Bankwest||$2.50 at Bankwest ATMs|
$2 at Bankwest ATMs inside 7/11 stores
|$2.50 at Bankwest ATMs|
$2 at Bankwest ATMs inside 7/11 stores
|Citibank||$2 (Applies to Online Cash Manager and Cash Management accounts that exceed the specified free withdrawal limits)||$2 (Applies to Online Cash Manager and Cash Management accounts that exceed the specified free withdrawal limits|
|HSBC||N/A (there is no exact figure, but you will be notified of the cost at specific ATMs before you proceed with a transaction)||N/A|
|Westpac||$0 (If part of Global ATM Alliance network and Westpac Group partners)||$0 (If part of Global and non-Global Alliance partners)|
*Excluding St.George ATMs operated by a third party, for example St.George ATMs located inside BP service stations.
You can use the above table to see whether or not your bank has a list of ATM partners that you can enjoy free ATM withdrawals from. To help you compare the costs, we’ve separated the table into three key categories:
- ATM partners. These financial institutions are partnered together so customers can use any of their ATMs free of charge.
- Withdrawal fees. This charge may be applied when you use a non-partnered ATM in Australia, or for accounts that have a limit on free transactions.
- Balance check fees. This fee may be charged for checking your account balance at a non-partner ATM in Australia.
Independently owned ATM machines
Except rediATM, which is owned by Cuscal, these independent ATM networks can be owned by individuals or syndicates who have purchased a lease off an ATM operator. If you use an ATM from an independently owned operator such as Cash Card, the fees and charges are set on a contract-by-contract basis. This means fees can vary between machines, even if they have the same branding. The fees for withdrawals and balance checks start from $2 but could be as high as $3 or $4.
|Institution||ATM partners||Cost for ATM withdrawals(for non-ATM partners)||ATM balance check fee|
A more detailed list of rediATM partners is provided in the frequently asked questions section of this article.
|Cash Card (First Data)||N/A||From $2||From $2|
|CashConnect (Banktech)||N/A||Varies based on region and business||Varies based on region and business|
|Customers ATM (DirectCash)||N/A||The surcharge varies depending on amount and transaction volumes||The surcharge varies depending on amount and transaction volumes|
|Kwik Cash||N/A||From $2||From $2|
How to avoid paying ATM fees
Read through the following tips to minimise or avoid paying ATM fees.
- Use a partner ATM. Make sure you use an ATM owned by your financial institution or a partner ATM. For example, St.George cardholders can make free ATM withdrawals at BankSA, Bank of Melbourne and Westpac ATMs in Australia. Check your bank’s website or mobile app for an ATM locator that can advise you of nearby machines you can use for free.
- Use mobile banking. Save time and money by checking your balance online. Many mobile banking applications let you check your account balance by logging into your online account. Mobile banking is free to use (excluding data charges) and you can check your account balance anywhere and anytime. In some cases, you may be able to transfer money directly from an app and eliminate the need for cash completely.
- Use a global alliance ATM if you’re overseas. Westpac are part of the Global ATM Alliance. Westpac Group cardholders (Bank of Melbourne, BankSA and St.George) can make withdrawals for free at a huge number of international ATMs. For example, use a BNP Paribas ATM if you’re in France or Barclays Bank ATM if you’re in the UK and you can avoid the fee for international ATM withdrawals. What’s more, most ATMs in Europe don’t charge a local ATM operator fee, so the main charges you’ll incur will be from your own bank if you don’t use a partner ATM.
- Use a free-free debit account. If you want to avoid ATM withdrawal fees, a fee-free debit card is another option. The ING Direct Orange Everyday Account, the ME Bank Everyday Transaction Account and the Citibank Plus Everyday Account all offer fee-free withdrawals to cardholders. However, some of these debit cards have terms and conditions regarding when you’re eligible for fee-free withdrawals, so make sure to read the terms and conditions before applying.
Using your credit card to withdraw from an ATM can be a convenient way to get cash, but it comes at a cost. If you plan to use your credit card (or even debit card) for ATM withdrawals, understanding which ATM machines belong to an ATM alliance can help you save in the long run. As credit card ATM withdrawals also incur cash advance fees and interest rates (as well as the standard ATM withdrawal), you might want to reconsider using your plastic to get cash. Otherwise, you might want to consider a credit card that charges low or no cash advance fees to cut down on costs.
Frequently asked questions
What is a direct charge?
This is another name for an ATM fee. A “direct charge fee” is what you’ll pay when you use an ATM outside your financial institution’s ATM network.
Do ATMs display ATM fees that they charge?
If you’re using an ATM as a non-customer, the ATM you’re using displays the ATM fees before you proceed with your transaction. At this point, you have the option to continue or simply take your card and leave.
Who has the largest ATM network?
Reserve Bank data puts DC Payments as the largest ATM operator in Australia. Based on the RBA’s data from July 2015, the 10 biggest ATM networks in Australia are as follows:
|ATM network provider||Number of machines in Australia|
|Commonwealth Bank and Bankwest||3,822|
|Westpac and St.George||3,055|
Who are the rediATM partners?
rediATM operates one of the largest ATM networks in Australia, partnered with over 100 banks, credit unions and mutuals, including:
- AMP Bank
- Australian Defence Credit Union
- Bank of Queensland
- Community First Credit Union
- Defence Bank
- Family First Credit Union
- First Choice Credit Union
- Gateway Credit Union
- Greater Building Society
- Holiday Coast Credit Union
- Horizon Credit Union
- Illawarra Credit Union
- Intech Credit Union
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- Liberty Financial
- Lombard Finance
- Memberfirst Credit Union
- My Credit Union
- MyState Financial
- Northern Beaches Credit Union
- People’s Choice Credit Union
- Police Bank
- QT Mutual Bank Limited
- Queenslanders Credit Union
- Southern Cross Credit Union
- Teachers Mutual Bank Limited
- Virgin Money
- Woolworths Employees Credit Union