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Best Banks to Avoid ATM Fees

Oct. 16, 2018
Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, Checking Accounts
NerdWallet adheres to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.
Best bank for domestic ATM access
Axos Bank™

at Axos Bank™,

Member, FDIC

Axos Bank

4.0 NerdWallet rating
Best credit union for ATM access
Alliant Credit Union

at Alliant Credit Union,

Federally insured by the NCUA

Alliant Credit Union

4.5 NerdWallet rating
Best bank for international ATM access

Charles Schwab Bank

4.0 NerdWallet rating
Best brick-and-mortar bank for domestic ATM access

Citibank

3.5 NerdWallet rating
Runner-up

Ally

4.5 NerdWallet rating
Runner-up

Capital One 360

4.5 NerdWallet rating
Runner-up
Discover

at Discover,

Member, FDIC

Discover

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Many banking services can be done online, but there’s at least one that remains offline: getting cash. Check out this list of financial institutions that do away with most ATM fees to offer free ATM access nationwide, abroad or both.

Axos Bank

Best bank for domestic ATM access

4.0 NerdWallet rating
Axos Bank™

at Axos Bank™,

Member, FDIC

Axos Bank, formerly Bank of Internet USA, gives its customers access to any ATM in the U.S. without charging fees — and it reimburses fees that an ATM owner may charge. Its Rewards Checking, CashBack Checking and Essential Checking accounts provide unlimited fee reimbursements; its two other checking options reimburse up to $8 or $12 per month.

For international transactions, the bank has a 1% charge for ATM withdrawals and debit card purchases.

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Alliant Credit Union

Best credit union for ATM access

4.5 NerdWallet rating
Alliant Credit Union

at Alliant Credit Union,

Federally insured by the NCUA

Chicago-based Alliant Credit Union has its own ATMs and participates in several large ATM networks, including Allpoint, Alliance One, CO-OP Network, Credit Union 24 CU Here and Publix Presto. In all, that’s more than 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs that Alliant members can use. In addition, this credit union reimburses up to $20 per month in fees charged by owners of other ATMs. You’re even reimbursed for fees at international machines, though you would still be charged a Visa foreign transaction fee, which is currently 1% of the amount withdrawn. And Alliant’s flexible membership requirements make it easy to join the ranks of its more than 385,000 members.

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Charles Schwab Bank

Best bank for international ATM access

4.0 NerdWallet rating

Charles Schwab offers the rare perk of worldwide ATM fee reimbursements, and it doesn’t charge any ATM fees of its own, either. Schwab, based in San Francisco, is mostly an investment company, but it offers the Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking Account to customers when they open a Schwab One brokerage account. The account has no minimum balance, monthly fees or foreign debit card transaction fees. Other investment firms provide similar ATM reimbursements within the U.S., but Schwab steps it up internationally.

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Citibank

Best brick-and-mortar bank for domestic ATM access

3.5 NerdWallet rating

The fourth-largest U.S. bank, Citibank offers account holders access to thousands of domestic ATMs. They include more than 2,400 cash machines at Citibank’s roughly 700 branches nationwide, and an additional 25,000 fee-free ATMs that are part of the nationwide MoneyPass network.

Citibank also has ATMs in more than 20 countries outside the U.S. Customers who withdraw cash there will pay a 3% foreign exchange fee (waived for holders of Citigold, Citi Priority and other high-end accounts).

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Ally

Runner-up

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Like many all-online banks, Ally relies on a strong domestic ATM network. You can withdraw cash fee-free at more than 43,000 Allpoint ATMs, and Ally will reimburse you up to $10 per statement cycle for fees you’ll pay to use out-of-network ATMs. If you only make out-of-network withdrawals a few times a month, you won’t pay for them with Ally.

You will pay to withdraw cash internationally, though — up to 1% of the transaction amount, and a possible fee from the ATM owner.

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Capital One 360

Runner-up

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Capital One 360 is an online bank backed by Capital One. Along with solid interest rates and a generous overdraft policy, the bank offers free access to 39,000 ATMs. It won’t charge you for accessing ATMs outside the network, but the ATM owner might. And there are no foreign transaction fees for using your debit card.

If you prefer banking in person, Capital One 360 has about 30 cafes in major cities throughout the country — and, of course, you can always manage your accounts online.

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Discover

Runner-UP

4.5 NerdWallet rating
Discover

at Discover,

Member, FDIC

Discover Bank customers can withdraw cash at more than 60,000 ATMs belonging to the Allpoint and Moneypass networks. Use an ATM outside of those networks and Discover won’t charge you, though the ATM owner might. The same applies to international ATMs: Discover won’t charge you, and it won’t charge a currency conversion fee, but the ATM owner might still charge a fee. Keep in mind that acceptance is limited outside of North America.

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» If you rely on your bank’s app, explore Nerdwallet’s best banks for mobile banking

Next steps

Virtually any financial institution will let you withdraw money for free from its own ATMs, and many credit unions and community banks participate in larger shared ATM networks, too. When opening a bank account, consider which is more important to you: ATM fee reimbursements or a local network.

Best banks to avoid ATM fees

BankATM network and fees
Bank of Internet USAUnlimited ATM fee reimbursements domestically
Alliant Credit Union80,000 fee-free ATMs, and reimbursements of up to $20 a month for out-of-network fees
Charles Schwab BankUnlimited ATM fee reimbursements worldwide
CitibankMore than 25,000 fee-free ATMs, high for a brick-and-mortar bank
Ally Bank43,000 fee-free ATMs, plus monthly reimbursements of up to $10 for out-of-network charges
Capital One 36039,000 fee-free ATMs, and no out-of-network fees, plus no foreign transaction fees
Discover60,000 fee-free ATMs, no out-of-network ATM fees

Virginia C. McGuire and Spencer Tierney are staff writers at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: virginia@nerdwallet.com or spencer@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @vcmcguire or @SpencerNerd.


METHODOLOGY

To determine the best accounts, we took a close look at 70 financial institutions, including the largest U.S. banks based on assets, debit card volume, Internet search traffic and other factors; the nation’s largest credit unions, based on deposits as well as broad-based membership requirements; and other notable and/or emerging players in the industry. We rated them on criteria including annual percentage rates, minimum balances, fees, digital experience and more.

Financial institutions surveyed include: Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, America First Credit Union, American Express, Aspiration, Associated Bank, Bank5 Connect, BankDirect, Bank of America, Axos Bank, Bank of the West, Barclays, BB&T, BBVA Compass, Boeing Employees Credit Union, BMO Harris, Capital One 360, Charles Schwab Bank, Chase, Chime, CIT, Citibank, Citizens Bank, Comerica Bank, Commerce Bank, Connexus Credit Union, Consumers Credit Union, Discover Bank, TIAA Bank, Fidelity, Fifth Third Bank, First Citizens Bank, First National Bank, First Tech Federal Credit Union, GoBank, Golden 1 Credit Union, GS Bank, HSBC Bank USA, Huntington Bank, KeyBank, M&T Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, PNC, PurePoint Financial, Qapital, Radius Bank, Regions Bank, Santander Bank, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, Simple, Star One Credit Union, State Employees’ Credit Union of North Carolina, State Farm Bank, Suncoast Credit Union, SunTrust Bank, Synchrony Bank, TCF Bank, TD Bank, Union Bank, UFB Direct, USAA, U.S. Bank, Varo, Wells Fargo, Woodforest National Bank, and Zions Bank.

How we rate banks and credit unions