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Community Banks with Free ATMs and ATM Fee Refunds

Dec. 14, 2012
Personal Finance
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Big banks like to boast about having the most free ATMs, but don’t be fooled. They may have the most branches, but when it comes to ATMs, it’s not about how many you own. It’s all about how much you give back…in reimbursements, that is. Get yourself a checking account with a bank that refunds other banks’ ATM fees, and any ATM is a free ATM. Now that’s real convenience, and yet another reason to bank with the little guy. When you put your money in a community bank, you support your local economy, and you save money on fees for yourself. Here are NerdWallet’s picks for community banks that refund ATM fees and offer great checking accounts, too.

Premier Bank (Dubuque, IA)

Premier Bank’s checking accounts have no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees. Four out of five also refund ATM fees up to $20 per statement cycle, which is more than enough for most people. If you have a Youth Checking account, they’ll refund up to 4 foreign ATM fees per statement cycle, making this the ideal account for a young student studying abroad. Every account has great perks, so pick the one that best fits your lifestyle. Premier Bank has branches in West Side, Downtown and Ashbury Plaza in Dubuque.

Bangor Savings Bank (Bangor, ME)

Bangor Savings Bank won’t charge you fees for using any ATM in the United States, or anywhere else! Plus, they’ll refund your money fast (3 business days). The only thing better than free ATM use is free checking, of course. Bangor Savings Bank’s Benefit Checking account is truly free, with no minimum balance requirement or monthly fee. The debit card even comes with an optional rewards program! Bangor Savings Bank has 56 branches all over Maine.

The Bank of Fairfield (Fairfield, CT)

Why pay another ATM fee when you can “keep your hometown bank in your pocket”? The Bank of Fairfield refunds any ATM fees you might incur, nationwide. They offer a great free checking account and several interest checking accounts for big savers that can afford a minimum balance. The Bank of Fairfield has one branch on Post Road and another on Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield.

Alliance Bank & Trust (Gastonia, NC)

Alliance Bank & Trust will refund any ATM fee, anytime, anywhere. Even better, you’ll get your money back automatically, the very same day. We recommend their Simply Checking account if you’re looking for an account that’s free and easy. Your first order of checks is free, too. Alliance Bank & Trust has branches in Gastonia, Kings Mountain and Shelby.

The Northumberland National Bank (Northumberland, PA)

The Northumberland National Bank offers free ATM access at all Liberty ATM Alliance and MoneyPass ATMs. Look for the appropriate logo to save money on your next out-of-town trip to the ATM. They’ll never charge you fees to use any ATM anywhere, but if you’re not using a network ATM, other banks might. The Northumberland National Bank offers a great free checking account, a free senior checking account, and an interest checking account with a lower-than-average minimum balance requirement. Visit them at one of their branches in Northumberland, Sunbury, Selinsgrove, Port Trevorton or Middleburg.

Bell State Bank & Trust (Fargo, ND)

Bell State Bank & Trust will refund up to 4 out-of-network domestic ATM fees per statement cycle, automatically. They’re so confident that you’ll like their checking account that they call it America’s Best Free Checking account. Here’s a preview of the perks: sign up to round your purchases to the nearest whole dollar and deposit the difference in your savings account, bank online or on your phone for free, and enjoy piece of mind with their free identity theft recovery program. Bell State Bank & Trust has branches in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo in North Dakota, and Alexandria, Audubon, Detroit Lakes, Dilworth, Fergus Falls, Hawley, Pelican Rapids, Wahpeton and Minneapolis in Minnesota.

Independence Bank (Newport Beach, CA)

Independence Bank refunds fees at all ATMs nationwide. You’ll get your money back the next day, for added convenience. Their Free Checking account, as the name implies, is truly free. It also comes with online banking and bill pay, and a free first box of checks. Independence Bank has branches in Newport Beach, San Juan Capistrano, Fountain Valley and Tustin.

Insight Bank (Worthington, OH)

Insight Bank is happy to offer refunds for any ATM, anywhere, making it perfect for students, military personnel, retirees and vacationers. Traveling has never been easier. Insight Bank’s free personal checking account comes with free online banking and bill pay. If you get a savings or money market account to go with it, you’ll get the added convenience of one statement for both your accounts. Visit them at their branch in Worthington.

1st Capital Bank (Monterey, CA)

1st Capital Bank lets you use any ATM, anywhere in the world, for free. Sign up for their Direct Deposit Checking account if you get a regular paycheck. If you can maintain a minimum balance, or you’re 55 or better, their other accounts can offer you even better perks. All accounts also come with free online banking and bill pay. 1st Capital Bank has branches in Monterey, Salinas and King City.

Fremont Bank (Fremont, CA)

Four out of five checking accounts at Fremont Bank come with nationwide ATM refunds. No need to save receipts either; your refunds will appear in your account automatically. Looking to keep your checking account free? The Freedom Checking Account comes with a low direct deposit requirement, while the B-Charitable Account comes with a competitive minimum balance requirement. Fremont Bank has branches throughout the East and South Bay Area.