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Aussies fork out half a billion in ATM fees

Aussies fork out half a billion in ATM fees

Australians are being urged to use their ATM cards wisely after RateCity.com.au analysis of RBA figures shows that collectively we forked out an estimated $548 million in avoidable ATM fees in the past year.

A total of 40 per cent of all transactions were at ‘foreign’ ATMs which charge consumers a $2 -$3 fee for accessing their bank account through a third-party provider.

ATM fees can be avoided by taking out money when using eftpos at the supermarket or the service station or switching to an account that has no ATM fees.

Tips to avoid paying ATM fees:

  • If you’re short of cash, consider getting money out at your local supermarket or petrol station using eftpos. Many supermarkets will let you get money out without making a purchase.
  • If you live in a remote area where it’s impossible to access a free ATM easily, try to limit the number of times you withdraw money in a week.
  • Find out where the closest ATMs are to your work and home. Many banks feature ATM locations on their websites and banking apps so you can easily locate the right ones.
  • Use the ATM as a budgeting tool by deciding when in the week you take money out and how much that is. If you find yourself heading towards the cash machine on a Friday night at the pub, it can act as a small reminder that you’ve probably blown your budget for the week.

Everyday accounts – RateCity’s picks for ATM access

ING Direct Orange everyday

Use any ATM in Australia and ING will refund the fees when you deposit your pay of $1000+ each month

ME Bank everyday transaction account

No ATM fees at Westpac, St George Bank, Bank of Melbourne and Bank of SA ATMs nationwide. New customers get a refund on fees incurred at all other ATMs in Australia within 30 days of the transaction

Bankwest easy transaction account

No ATM fees at Bankwest, CBA, NAB, ANZ, Westpac, St George Bank, Bank of Melbourne and Bank of SA ATMs nationwide

To compare all transaction accounts go to: www.ratecity.com.au/transaction-accounts.

Sally Tindall, money editor at RateCity.com.au, said a RateCity.com.au survey of over 1000 people found that one in three Australians still pay ATM fees, with women and young adults more willing to fork out for convenience.

“Nearly 40 per cent of women pay ATM fees, compared with just 27 per cent of men,” said Tindall.

“Millennials aren’t overly concerned about hunting down their own ATMs to avoid fees, with 40 per cent admitting to using the wrong ATMs, compared to just 27 per cent of boomers.

“If half of these transactions were made either at a free ATM or at a retailer that provides cash out, collectively we’d save around $274 million per year,” said Tindall.

“Better yet, Australians can avoid these transactions altogether by switching to an everyday account that refunds ATM fees, regardless of which outlet customers use.

“Surprisingly, our research found that just 5 per cent of people are taking advantage of these accounts, despite the fact that they provide their customers with untapped ATM freedom,” she said.

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