Finding the Best Bank Without ATM Fees
No one likes ATM fees. When you open a checking account, you expect to be able to get cash at an ATM without having to pay extra charges to your own bank or credit union. So we pored over the data to find the top financial institutions that have no ATM fees in 2021.
|Charles Schwab Bank Read More||0.03%||$0|| |
|Fidelity Read More||0.01%||$0|| |
|Aspiration Read More||1.00%||$10|| |
|PNC Bank Read More||0.01%||$25|| |
|First Republic Bank Read More||0%||$500|| |
|Radius Bank Read More||0.10%||$100|| |
|Axos Bank Read More||1.25%||$50|| |
|Citibank Read More||0.03%||$0|| |
|Century Bank Read More||0.05%||$10|| |
|Chase Bank Read More||0.01%||$100|| |
How We Determine the Best No ATM Fee Banks
For this list, we considered only checking accounts at banks that don’t charge ATM fees. In order to rate which were the best, we analyzed the following categories: domestic and international ATM fee reimbursements, annual percentage yield (APY), minimum opening deposits, monthly fees, overdraft fees and overall customer service.
Charles Schwab Bank
Even with a mediocre 0.03% APY, the Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking® account offers a lot to its customers. Those who travel internationally often can get cash at any time from any ATM and have all fees reimbursed automatically. You won’t get the refund back immediately though, as Schwab returns the total to your account in a lump sum at the end of the month.
The major issue with this account is its APY that it is not that robust when it comes to its APY. The bank account compensates for this downside by being almost entirely fee-free. As a matter of fact, there are no monthly maintenance fees, free checks, no overdraft fees, no stop payment fees, and no foreign exchange fees.
Along with this account, you’ll receive a free Schwab One® brokerage account for your investments. This not only gives you access to investing education resources, but it also allows you to enter the investment world without much capital. There is no fee to open or maintain this account, and you get a $4.95 rate on all online equity trades.
Fidelity is an investment-first financial institution, making it not your typical “bank.” But its cash management account can hand you all the benefits that a bank does, without the massive fees that usually accompany it.
Any fees you incur while making withdrawals at domestic ATMs are reimbursed within the same day that you complete the transaction. Simply use your new Fidelity® Debit card at any ATM with the Visa®, Plus® or Star® logos, and you’ll remain eligible for refunds. But if you’re using an ATM outside of the U.S., there is an unavoidable 1% foreign transaction fee.
Beyond the generous ATM policy above, Fidelity doesn’t have many other fees or account restrictions. In fact, there is no minimum deposit to open an account, no minimum balance to maintain, no monthly service fees and no fees to use overdraft services. However, Fidelity applies a 0.07% APY to your account balance, which doesn’t leave much room for account growth.
Considering Fidelity is almost totally online, it should come as no surprise that the Fidelity Mobile® app and website are thorough and helpful. Some of their features include online bill pay, mobile check deposit, wire transfers, and real-time trading. If your Apple device has the capabilities, you can also utilize Face ID and Touch ID to log on.
Aspiration is a financial institution that offers a cash management account called the Aspiration Spend and Save Account. Although it's technically a single product, it consists of a spending-focus checking account and a savings account. The account comes in two variations: Aspiration and Aspiration Plus.
With the standard Aspiration package, customers are allowed to choose whatever fee they want to pay for their account. In fact, one of the company's FAQ sections features the question, "Can I really pay you zero?" Aspiration's response is "Yes," and customers can change their account fee as often as they want. Although you can actually pay nothing for the account, Aspiration says the following on its website: "We really hope you won't. And our business is built on trusting that you won't."
If you go with Aspiration Plus, you'll be charged a $7 monthly fee, though you can lower this rate to $5.75 a month if you pay for a year at a time. Upgrading to this package grants you access to an extremely competitive 1.00% APY, though there are some stipulations to earn it. For starters, this APY only applies to monthly balances of up to $10,000. The other requirement is that you must spend at least $1,000 on your Aspiration debit card every month. Balances above $10,000 will earn a 0.10% APY. On the other hand, accounts that fail to meet the above stipulations will receive a 0.25% APY on balances up to $10,000, as well as the same 0.10% APY on balances above $10,000.
You only need to deposit $10 to open this account, and it allows for fee-free ATM withdrawals at more than 55,000 Allpoint ATMs. Aspiration Plus account holders are also eligible to receive one out-of-network ATM fee reimbursement a month. Additionally, Aspiration offers cash back rewards for those who use their debit card at certain businesses, like Warby Parker and Blue Apron.
Aspiration is a branchless bank, but you can still take advantage of mobile/online banking and customer service seven days a week. The bank allows customers to make mobile bill payments, deposit checks online and use Apple Pay or Android Pay.
PNC Bank Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend
The PNC Bank Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend offers a collection of three accounts that work together: an interest-bearing Spend checking account, a Reserve interest-earning account for short-term savings goals and a Growth savings account that earns interest. You can open this account for $0 if you set it up online. If not, you’ll have to pay a $25 minimum opening deposit to earn the 0.01% APY.
The Performance Spend account also requires a $15 monthly fee, unless you meet one of the following:
- Maintain a $2,000 combined average monthly balance in your Spend and/or Reserve accounts.
- Maintain a $10,000 combined average monthly balance only across PNC Bank consumer deposit accounts you have chosen to link
- Make at least $2,000 in qualifying monthly direct deposits to your Spend account during the statement period (the minimum is $1,000 for WorkPlace or MilitaryBanking customers)
PNC also offers free use of PNC ATMs, fee reimbursements for non-PNC ATMs, free overdraft protection and unlimited check writing.
First Republic Bank
First Republic Bank offers multiple checking accounts that include several ATM-related perks. The bank’s Classic Checking account, though non-interest bearing, allows for unlimited use of First Republic ATMs. This account requires a minimum opening deposit of $500, and you’ll need a minimum average monthly balance of $2,500 to avoid a $25 monthly fee.
Another account that may be preferable, if you don’t mind the $3,500 minimum average balance requirement, is the ATM Rebate Checking account. With this account, you’ll have unlimited ATM withdrawals, FDIC insurance, and a complimentary first order of checks. Plus, First Republic will rebate access or withdrawal fees charged by other banks.
First Republic excels in its customer service offerings. The bank has branches on both the East and West coasts, and it provides customer support seven days a week.
Formerly the Hybrid Checking account, the Radius Rewards Checking Account gives you 1% in unlimited cash back on signature purchases plus refunds on all domestic and international ATM fees. But when you make a withdrawal or deposit outside of the U.S., Radius will charge you a foreign currency exchange fee no matter what.
It would be wise to keep track of how much you’ve been charged in these fees, though, as you won’t see them credited to your account right away. Instead, like Schwab, ATM surcharge reimbursements are sent out in full at the conclusion of every month.
There are three rate tiers you could encounter, depending on your balance:
|Radius Rewards Checking APYs|
|$0.01 - $2,499.99||0.00%|
|$2,500.00 - $99,999.99||0.10%|
Once you have a balance of $2,500 or more, the APY is significantly higher than the average for a checking account in the U.S. So although it’s not at the same level as the two accounts above, it holds a much higher yield than most of its peers. You need to deposit at least $100 to open this account, though there are no monthly fees.
To cover yourself for any instances of overdraft, it would be wise to do a lot of your other banking with Radius too. For example, you can utilize a savings account, money market account (MMA) or line of credit to absorb any overdrafts you might make. Account holders are able to transfer money to and from their account for free, even if it’s not with another Radius account. eStatements and mobile check deposit are also included as free features of this account, and account holders can receive an additional 1.50% cash back on purchases made with a Radius debit card.
Runner-up: Axos Bank (more below)
With a 1.25% APY, the Axos Bank Rewards Checking account has the strongest interest-earning potential of any offer on this list. This isn't an automatically given APY, though, as there are strings attached to earn it. It is split into thirds, and you can earn each third by meeting all of these monthly requirements: make a purchase of $3 or more at least 10 times a month, make five more purchases of at least $3 in the same month and collect at least $1,000 in direct deposits.
Axos Bank is an online-only bank. However, if you use an ATM in the U.S. and are a Rewards Checking, Cashback Checking or Essential Checking account holder, you will receive back a full rebate of any fees you may have payed. Unlike some of the other offers on this list, this doesn’t apply to foreign ATMs. You can only reap the benefits of this ATM fee reimbursement program if you use your Axos Bank Visa® debit card to complete the transaction.
Whether you’re opening a checking or savings account, Citi offers numerous options for clients seeking assistance. The firm has more than 700 national branches and 1,800 overseas branches, and it provides a 24/7 customer service line that all clients have access to. Citi also has a well-rated mobile app it offers Apple and Android users.
The bank’s Citigold Interest Checking account’s 0.03% APY isn’t as competitive, but you won’t need a minimum opening deposit to establish the account. But to qualify for Citigold, clients must maintain a combined average monthly balance in eligible accounts.
When it comes to ATM services, Citi offers a range of fee-free ATMs. This includes more than 2,300 ATMs in 600 Citibank branches. You’ll have access to more than 60,000 surcharge-free ATMs, and the bank also has ATMs in more than 20 countries.
Runner-up: Chase Bank Sapphire Checking
Century Bank is a New England-based institution with about 27 branches in 19 cities throughout Massachusetts, according to its website. The bank has more than $6 billion in assets, and it offers a wide range of personal, business and wealth/investing products. Among those products is the Century Bank Platinum Checking account.
The Platinum account comes with a decent 0.05% APY and a $10 minimum opening deposit. You’ll also only need a $10 minimum daily balance to earn the 0.05% rate. What stands out about the account, though, is that it includes unlimited ATM fee refunds, free ATM access for non-Century banks, unlimited free selected checks and more.
However, if you need to use your card overseas, you’ll incur foreign exchange fees, draft fees and draft cancellation fees.
Chase provides roughly 16,000 ATMs, and the bank has close to 5,000 branches scattered across the country. When it comes to checking accounts, Chase offers several different options. These include the Chase Total Checking, Chase Secure Banking, Chase Premier Plus Checking, Chase Sapphire Checking, Chase College Checking, Chase High School Checking and Chase First Banking accounts.
The monthly fees and minimum deposits vary per checking account. For the Chase Premier Plus Checking account, you can waive the $25 monthly fee if you do one of the following: maintain an average beginning day balance of at least $15,000, or own a linked qualifying Chase first mortgage that’s enrolled in automatic payments from your Chase account.
Chase provides excellent customer service offerings, and the bank's mobile app averages at about a 4.6/5 star rating. The bank also waives fees at non-Chase ATMs for up to four times per statement period.