If you run out of cash while on vacation, you may find it easier to head to the nearest ATM. But if this handy machine isn’t in your bank’s network, you could incur a double cost: The ATM owner will likely charge a few dollars for the convenience, and your own bank might charge you an extra $2.50. or more.
However, you can avoid paying additional fees at ATMs by making some preparations. Here are ways to get free cash on your next trip.
Also Read: 4 Smart Ways to Split Bills with Friends While Traveling Abroad
1. Choose a bank account that offers free ATM refunds.
Some banks will credit customer accounts for any fees charged by ATM owners. Depending on the bank and account, refunds can be unlimited or capped at around $10 per statement cycle.
Even capped reimbursements would cover some trips to the ATM while on vacation, so if you think you’ll be hit with multiple ATM fees, consider opening an account with a bank that reimburses fees. Note that if you are traveling abroad and need funds, you may incur foreign transaction fees.
2. Extend the scope to retailers that offer free cash back.
If you use a debit card to make purchases while traveling, look for merchants like supermarkets or pharmacies that offer free discounts on purchases. This is an easy way to skip the ATM, although it means you’ll have to make a purchase. But if you had planned this anyway, it does not mean any additional cost.
3. Join a large network of ATMs
For customers traveling to the United States, a bank or credit union account that has access to thousands of domestic ATMs is another good option, since you have a good chance of finding machines at no extra cost at destination.
You don’t need an account at a megabank with a branch on every corner to take advantage of a large network of ATMs. Many small credit unions and online banks are part of cooperative networks, like Allpoint and Co-op, which provide access to at least 30,000 ATMs in the United States.
Don’t give in to expensive ATMs on your vacation for the sake of convenience. With a little planning, you can keep all your money yourself instead of giving a share to an ATM owner.
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