Finding the Best Bank for 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.
|Fidelity Read More||0.01%||$0|| |
|Charles Schwab Bank Read More||0.03%||$0|| |
|Radius Bank Read More||0.10%||$100|| |
|PNC Bank Read More||0.01%||$0|| |
|First Republic Bank Read More||0.001%||$500|| |
|TIAA Bank Read More||0.10%||$100|| |
|Mechanics Bank Read More||0%||$25|| |
|Axos Bank Read More||1.25%||$50|| |
|Aspiration Read More||1.00%||$10|| |
|Ally Bank Read More||0.10%||$0|| |
How We Determine the Best Banks for ATM Fees
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.
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 0.01% 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.
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 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.
The Radius Rewards Checking Account gives you interest, cash back if you meet certain requirements and 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, ATM surcharge reimbursements are sent out in full at the conclusion of every month.
There are three rate tiers you'll encounter, depending on your balance:
- $0.01 - $2,499.99: 0% APY
- $2,500 - $99,999.99: 0.10% APY
- $100,000+: 0.15% APY
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 some other accounts on this list, 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.
As far as cash back goes with this account, Radius offers certain account holders 1% cash back on qualifying purchases. To be eligible for this, you'll need to either maintain an average balance of at least $2,500 or receive at least $2,500 in deposits to your account over any given month. Until June 30, 2021, account holders can also receive a bonus 0.50% cash back on transactions made within specific merchant categories, like sporting goods stores, health and beauty shops, restaurants and more.
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 for the long term. 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.
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 across all connected PNC Bank consumer deposit accounts
- Make at least $2,000 in qualifying monthly direct deposits to your Spend account
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 and a complimentary first order of checks. Plus, First Republic will rebate all ATM fees charged by other, out-of-network 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.
TIAA Bank's Yield Pledge® Checking Account is a robust checking option that features no monthly fees and a competitive interest rate. In fact, account holders will receive a rate that TIAA deems through its Yield Pledge Promise ranks within the top 5% of similar accounts. It only takes a $100 deposit to become an account holder, and you'll receive a free debit card just for signing up.
When it comes to ATM fees, TIAA will not charge you any, regardless of whether you use an in-network ATM or not. If your account balance is at least $5,000, the bank will also reimburse you for all fees charged to you by out-of-network ATM providers. Should your account balance fall below $5,000, your out-of-network ATM fee reimbursements will instead top out at $15 a month.
TIAA Bank belongs to the Allpoint and MoneyPass ATM networks, which means you should have ample access to free ATMs throughout the U.S. Between Allpoint and MoneyPass, you'll be able to use over 80,000 ATMs free of charge.
Mechanics Bank is a California-based bank that specializes in personal checking and savings accounts. In fact, the bank has three levels of checking accounts: Essential, Advantage and Premier. Essential is the base tier, and it doesn't come with any special ATM features other than the bank's standard access to an international network of free ATMs.
The Advantage checking account boasts that access, in addition to up to $9 in monthly out-of-network ATM fee rebates. You'll also receive a reimbursement for up to two monthly ATM fees that Mechanics Bank may charge your account. However, this account is non-interest-bearing and it comes with a monthly fee of $16. You can waive this charge if either your average monthly collected balance is at least $5,000 or your average monthly combined balance is at least $20,000.
Mechanics' Premier checking account takes these ATM benefits a step further, though. With this product, account holders receive unlimited reimbursements and rebates for out-of-network ATM fees charged by Mechanics Bank and outside ATM companies, respectively. You'll obviously also receive access to the bank's large international free ATM network.
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 each of these monthly requirements: make a purchase of $3 or more with your Axos debit card at least 10 times a month, make five more purchases of at least $3 with your Axos debit card in the same month and collect at least $1,000 in monthly 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 paid. 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 in the U.S.
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 $15 monthly fee, though you can lower this rate to $12.50 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.
Ally Bank's Interest Checking Account has many perks associated with it. For starters, you can open an account with any size deposit. Once your account is open, you won't have to pay any monthly fees either, meaning your money should stay in your pocket. The bank is currently offering a 0.10% APY on accounts with a minimum daily balance below $15,000. If you can manage to push your minimum daily balance past that amount, Ally will more than double your APY to 0.25%.
Ally is a completely online bank, which means it does not run any physical locations. Therefore, its ATM network is of paramount importance. Ally doesn't disappoint, though, as it provides customers with free access to the Allpoint ATM network, which is 43,000 machines strong. Should you need to use an out-of-network ATM, Ally will also reimburse you for up to $10 in third-party ATM provider fees per month.
Outside of this checking account, Ally offers a bunch of other financial products to its customers. For example, the bank's Online Savings Account consistently ranks well on our list of the Best Savings Accounts. Ally also offers multiple CDs, investing and retirement accounts, mortgages, auto loans and personal loans.