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Its a decision that many of us are faced with at the most inopportune times. Usually, the closest free ATM is 3 miles away. Do I accept the fee or drive all over town to save the $3 fee? Most likely as the kids are pulling on your leg ready for lunch or initiating the "dying swan" because they won't last the day if they can't play one more game, you give in and pay the fee.

This same saga is repeated countless times each day all over the world. Customers are paying for the convenience. Ever wonder how much this convenience fee amounts too? According to a recent poll, bank ATM fees total nearly $4.2 billion per year! Thats a large chunk of change. To top it off, some banks feel they can recoup some their losses in other areas by raising their ATM fees.

There are a few banks however that are luring away discontented customers by waiving ATM fees. While rates have risen and profit margins are falling, how can they afford to waive fees? The answer is there are owners of free networks that will charge your bank instead of you. They are hoping that this will cause an increase in people using the machines and offset the losses of fee income from the consumers. Localized banks and credit unions are more willing to pay the fees to the larger free network operators due to the high cost of maintaining and servicing the machines in house. Just to keep the machines loaded with cash has become very costly, along with gas for the couriers that deliver the cash, paying the employees, etc. Maybe this will turn out better for everyone eventually. I know I could use an extra $3 in my wallet these days.

Try these two sites to locate free ATMs in your area. Moneypass.com and Allpointnetwork.com

Pam Hofmann
Third Tennessee Realty & Associates, LLC - Crossville, TN
Your Crossville, Lake Tansi & Fairfield Glade Specialist
I don't think we have any free ATM's in my small area but I will give a look to make sure. I hate those fee's!
Oct 04, 2007 02:32 AM
Tom Engelhardt
First Choice Mortgage - Ocala, FL
Pam-They add up quickly!
Oct 04, 2007 02:34 AM
Rosario Lewis
DDR Realty - Newburgh, NY
GRI, SRES - DDR Realty - Orange County, NY
It is a rare day that I will use an ATM. Most frequently, I use my bank card at point of purchase. Then there is no added fee.
Oct 04, 2007 02:36 AM
Diane Testa
Mullica Hill, NJ
You need to bank at Commerce! Not only do they not charge you a fee, but they re-imburse you if you get charged one by another bank! It's called "The Convenience Bank" for a reason...
Oct 04, 2007 02:40 AM
Tom Engelhardt
First Choice Mortgage - Ocala, FL

Rosario-Yeah I try to get a little cash when I shop at Publix or where ever.

Diane- Im actually looking around lately. I have been with B of A since they were Barnett and the service & fees get worse and worse.

Oct 04, 2007 02:49 AM
Kathleen Marron-Amthor
AllPro Realty - Boise, ID
I think paying an ATM fee is a waste. If your ATM card is attached to your checking account and you want to at least get something with your money stop at a gas station or store and just buy a coke or gum. If they are set-up for cards (most are) then you can request cash back. Whoala you have your money and something in your hand for less then a buck. Thanks for the tip for locating a free ATM.
Oct 04, 2007 04:47 AM
Ilyce N. Powell
Financial Revitalize - Baltimore, MD
CMPS- Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist
I  haven't paid an ATM fee in years. I think it's shameful to pay for your own money!
Oct 04, 2007 04:51 PM
Tom Engelhardt
First Choice Mortgage - Ocala, FL

Kathleen-Hope it comes in handy

Ilyce-I too think its shameful, but I have paid many of those fees!

Oct 05, 2007 02:37 AM
The All Pro Team
EXIT Realty Leaders - Crystal River, FL
thanks for the info.  In my area Publix has a free ATM .  If there is no ATM around me sometimes I will go to a store, purchase something small and then do cash back!! 
Oct 05, 2007 03:10 AM
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor
Publix is indeed a good choice!
Oct 05, 2007 02:37 PM