How to avoid paying high ATM fees

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ATM charges have been going up at three to four times the rate of inflation year after year. The average fee is now $4.52, according to BankRate.com. And this is at a time when the cost of ATMs and the data networks that they run on are going down!

The two most expensive cities for using an ATM are Atlanta and New York City.

So what’s going on? Well, the reality is that half of all banking in the U.S. now is done by four big banks — and they aren’t shy about charging you fees.

The good news: You don’t have to pay ATM fees!

There are many ways to avoid fees at the ATM, and in fact, a lot of organizations will eat the fee for you.

A couple of examples are USAA and Charles Schwab. Plus, many of the credit unions that have large co-op networks offer free ATMs.

Also, many supermarkets will give you up to $200 at the register, fee-free. (This is a great way for stores to reduce cash on hand.) Sam’s Club allows you to get up to $100 cashback when you check out.

The banks promoting these fees are really looking for customers who value convenience over anything else. So don’t be surprised if those fees go up again next year!

For more money-saving advice, see our Money section.

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