If you’re frustrated by bank fees, you’re not alone. Many people find it frustrating to have to pay to access their own money. This frustration is exacerbated by the introduction of new, fee-free banks in an increasingly cashless society.

These challenges leave a lot of people wondering how often you should use ATMs. Here’s what you need to know about fees and how to avoid them.

How ATM Fees are Changing

UK residents have historically had plenty of access to free-to-use ATMs. Unfortunately, the last few years have resulted in significant changes. Cardtronics and NoteWorthy— the major players in the ATM industry— have been converting thousands of their ATMs to fee-based models. They blame the shift toward a cashless society for increased pressure on their bottom lines, resulting in the need for access surcharges.

What’s more alarming for many people is that the number of ATMs is decreasing. It’s long been surmised that FinTech would revolutionize the banking industry. The ATM fee debacle is just one example of the disruption burgeoning technologies have caused. 

So, where does this leave consumers? Avoiding ATMs whenever possible.

Tips to Avoid Using ATMs

If you’ve been trying to figure out how to change your habits to avoid being hit with ATM fees, keep these helpful tips in mind.

Go Cashless

Eventually, the world will be almost entirely cashless. 2017 saw a debit card usage increase of 14% over 2016 in the UK alone. Usage is expected to continue on an upward trend, increasing 49% by 2027— and that’s before the global pandemic changed how people handle money.

One of the best ways forward is to go cashless. Many businesses and individuals are shifting to online banks like Amaiz and eliminating cash from the equation. Even small shops and street vendors are moving toward online money transfers and cashless transactions. Making those habit changes now will prevent you from being left behind.

 Get Cashback

Another effective way to avoid ATM fees is to get cashback from stores. Many larger chains offer cashback when you use a debit card. 

The key to this approach is to plan your cashback withdrawal for when you’re already planning a purchase. Buying something for the sake of getting cashback will ultimately cost you more. However, there’s a feeling of getting something in return for your expense, rather than paying a surcharge.

Plan Ahead

If you know you need cash for something, plan ahead and take out a lump sum rather than making numerous trips to the ATM. Doing so will help minimize your transaction fees over time.

It’s also worth taking out a bit extra when possible and stash it away for future use. 

Look for a No-Fee Bank

Finally, looking for a no-fee bank or ATM within your network will help you avoid fees. While thousands of ATMs have been changed over to the surcharge model, there are still thousands within the UK that are free to use.

Many banks within the UK are also a part of the Global ATM Alliance. If your bank is in the Alliance, you can use ATMs from banks other than your own that fall into this category. As the name implies, the Global ATM Alliance is an international program. As such, you can take out money from anywhere in the world without paying excess fees.

How Often Should You Use ATMs?

In our modern society, you should use ATMs as infrequently as possible. While there are still small towns and shops where cash is a must, most vendors, bill collectors, and independent business owners use electronic banking and payments.

Plan accordingly, and revisit your spending habits to save on increasingly costly ATM fees.

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