How To Avoid Foreign ATM Fees – The Dreaded $2 ATM Fee

Posted September 22nd, 2009 and last modified June 11th, 2014

Two dollar ATM fees are some of the most annoying bank ATM fees Australian consumers have to put up with and they are costing us a lot of money we wouldn’t have to spend in the first place. The same applies to foreign ATM fees. The biggest issue with these fees is that most banking customers don’t even realise they are being charged for it.

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How to avoid fees for using another bank's ATM machine

Avoid bank ATM fees including two dollar ATM fees and foreign ATM fees:

A recent study by the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) has shown that some 30 per cent of consumers could avoid bank ATM fees by implementing simple changes in the way they bank.??The secret lies in using the ready-made tools provided by banks and making a few changes to our banking habits overall. In their Banking Services Report 2009 released back in May this year the ABA stated how a minimum of 33 per cent of the total bank ATM fees could be saved by the public.??Chief Executive of the ABA, David Bell said: “The fees which could be avoided are $954m worth of exception fees and $640m4 worth of foreign ATM fees.”

Household Bank ATM Fees:

Mr Bell further said: “By using your own bank’s ATMs, ensuring accounts are not overdrawn and your credit card paid on time, money can be saved. Avoiding overdrawn fees can be done by checking your account balances before making large purchases.”

“The ABA’s estimated savings do not include the savings that consumers and households can get by moving to low-cost accounts, such as basic or exception fee-free accounts. If these opportunities are taken into consideration, households, on average, could save a good deal more than 30%.”

“The ABA estimates, based on RBA data, show that exception fees have fallen as a percentage of resident assets. And in particular, exception fees on transaction accounts have fallen as a percentage of household deposits.”

Tips to avoid banking exception fees:

  • Check your account balance via branch, ATMs, telephone and Internet banking on a regular basis to check if there are sufficient funds in your account. Think about upcoming transactions such as utility bills that are on autopilot, credit card payment or any other purchases. It also is a good idea to check when your periodical payments or direct debits are due and to reschedule them if necessary.
  • Avoid bank accounts that charge exception fees. It is recommended by the ABA to ask your bank about these accounts if you fall into the low-income earning bracket.
  • The ability to exceed your credit card limit for electronically authorised purchases and cash transactions might be cancelled by certain banks. Make sure you know if your bank supports these options.
  • If you want to avoid late payment fees you should pay the minimum monthly payment before or on the due date. Keeping track of due bills in a diary is a good idea if you are forgetful.
  • Check with your bank whether you can utilise SMS alerts for both successful and missed transactions or a ‘sweeps’ facility to transfer funds from a cash-rich account on autopilot if you are due for a bill but the account is overdrawn.

Tips to avoid foreign ATM fees:

There are several things you can do when banking abroad. The tips below show you how.

  • Use the ATM network of your own bank or else choose a fee-free ATM network.
  • Sometimes it isn’t easy to find the closest ATM when you are not at home.But thanks to friendly telephone assistance or SMS alerts your bank can help you find the right ATMs, saving you money.
  • In any foreign ATM transaction you can best avoid foreign ATM fees by looking closely at the screen whenever you are withdrawing money because the screen will display the amount that will be charged to you. If you don’t like what you see simply don’t do the transaction.
  • Try to use EFTPOS where possible and if you need actual cash you might be better of getting it at the supermarket checkout. Check your fees
  • Some banks lack a decent ATM network overseas. If your bank hasn’t got the means to allow you to utilise their machines when overseas ask them for other cost-effective solutions. Many of them recommend partner networks to you.

Avoiding foreign ATM fees, especially the two dollar ATM fees is the fastest way to save on all bank ATM fees while travelling.

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