I know it's a convenience but I still hate to pay a machine just to get access to my own money. Paying fees to use an automated teller machine, or ATM as they're better known, is one of my pet peeves. In fact, I'll go out of my way to either use one of the banks' ATMs where I have an account to avoid paying any fee, or go to Costco, where the ATM machine only charges 75 cents.
It's those times when I'm stranded and surrounded by every type of major branch imaginable except mine that I really sent forking over $3 to take a couple a hundred bucks out of my account. It's not like the bank has to pay someone to do this. It's all automatic.
Now, I grant you three dollars isn't going to clean me out. But let's say I go to the ATM once a week. Those little charges start to add up to $156 a year just to access my own money.
Fortunately, CNNMoney.com has put together a list of banks and other institutions that will let you access your money from just about any ATM for free.
In fact, Ally bank, Charles Schwab, and USAA not only let all of their customers use out of network ATMs free of charge, but they also refund the fees that their customers are charged by other banks. State Farm Bank also doesn't charge you for going out of network and reimburses fees of up to $10 charged by other banks.
BBVA Compass gives most customers rebates of ATM fees charged by other banks if customers mail ATM receipts or account statements showing the fees to the bank within 90 days of the transaction.
Clear Sky Accounts waives ATM fees of up to $20 each month, while Bank of Internet USA refunds fees up to $8 for its checking accounts. Century Bank allows up to six non-Century ATM transactions per month.
EverBank allows customers unlimited use of out-of-network ATMs, but only if they maintain an average daily balance of $5,000. PNC has a similar deal but only makes customers carry a minimum balance of $2,000.
In addition, many credit unions have nationwide ATM networks, so they can also be good alternatives to the big banks. Alliant Credit Union gives members free access to a network of more than 80,000 ATMs. Customers can make eight free transactions a month and are charged $1 for every transaction beyond that.
Nicole Sturgill, research director at TowerGroup, says there are thousands of banks that don't charge for going out of network. She adds that "essentially any bank that doesn't have a lot of ATMs will not charge their customers when they use another bank's ATM because it's rather hard to justify charging out of network if you only have 10 ATMs."
Comparatively, Bank of America, Citibank and JPMorgan Chase all charge non-customers $3 to use their ATMs and charge their own customers $2 for using other ATMs. Wells Fargo charges non-customers $3 and charges its own customers $2.50 for going out of network.
At Capital One, it costs customers $2 to use other ATMs and $2.75 for non-customers to use Capital One ATMs, but the bank refunds up to $10 of ATM fees for customers using its online checking accounts.
Non-customers are charged as little as $1.75 and as much as $3 to use HSBC ATMs. But HSBC customers are charged the least for using other ATMs, $1.50. And this is waived for customers with Premier and Plus accounts.