By Gina Ragusa Published July 26, 2013 Credit Unions Online
Avoid getting nickeled and dimed by foreign ATM fees during travel this summer with a little planning and strategic foresight.
While completely eluding all ATM fees may be nearly impossible, there are a few steps you can take to ease the blow:
Withdraw Money From Your Credit Union Checking or Savings Account
NerdWallet recently reported that customers who do business with the 20 biggest banks can expect higher fees, anywhere between $2 to $3 for domestic out-of-network transactions. Some banks may even charge an additional “out-of-network” fee of up to $5 in addition to regular ATM fee.
However, the average amount credit union and other bank customers pay for domestic out-of-network usage is around $1.78. ABC News spoke with NerdWallet’s Anisha Sekar who said that many credit unions participate in a nationwide ATM network and will reimburse ATM fees.
Check with your credit union before you travel to confirm if ATM fees are reimbursed (and up to how much) and where you can go to withdraw money fee free (point of sale, Shared Service branches, etc.).
Use Debit or Credit Cards To Pay
Most retailers and establishments accept debit or credit cards for payment, which may alleviate your need to withdraw cash from an ATM. However check with your bank or credit union with regard to fees for international purchases. NerdWallet says that out of country bank fees can range from 1% to 3% of the total purchase, which can really add up. Using your credit union debit or credit card may be in your favor as NerdWallet says that credit unions and community banks will typically only charge approximately 1% for international purchases.
Also, keep in mind that identity theft is alive and well anywhere in the world, so signing for your purchase instead of imputing your personal identification number (PIN) may be the safest way to travel.
Credit Unions That Refund ATM Fees
Ask your credit union about ATM fee refunds before you take off this summer. NerdWallet plucked a few examples of some credit unions that refund ATM fees:
Golden Plains Credit Union ($299.9 million, Garden City, KS): Members of the Golden Rewards Checking account earn ATM fee reimbursement up to $25 per statement cycle.
PSECU ($3.2 billion, Harrisburg, PA): Regular checking account members who sign up for direct deposit are reimbursed up to $20 per statement cycle in ATM fees.
Texas Trust Credit Union ($738 million, Mansfield, TX): Checking account members at various checking levels can receive anywhere from four to unlimited ATM rebates per month depending upon their relationship and level.
Campus Federal Credit Union ($434.8 million, Baton Rouge, LA): Lagniappe Checking members receive unlimited ATM refunds, up to $4.99 per transaction.
Leominster Credit Union ($600 million, Leominster, MA): LCU Tunes Checking members earn unlimited ATM refunds as long as the member meets monthly minimum requirements (10 debit card transactions, e-statements and access your account online at least once).
Allegiance Credit Union ($211 million, Oklahoma City, OK): Allegiance Rewards Checking members receive ATM refunds up to $25 each month.
Raritan Bay Federal Credit Union ($69.4 million, Sayreville, NJ): When monthly requirements are met (10 signature based debit card transactions, direct deposit, estatements, and use online access), Kasasa Cash accountholders are reimbursed for all ATM fees.
Corning Credit Union ($1 billion, Corning, NY): Windfall Checking account members are refunded up to $30 in ATM fees per month if they meet basic requirements--12 debit or credit card transactions, estatements and direct deposit per month.
IAA Credit Union ($152.2 million, Bloomington, IL): Young adult checking account, Dollar and Sense Checking provides for up to $10 per month ATM fee reimbursement.